There was a time when employers and social media didn’t overlap – your online life was protected from IRL judgement. Over the last ten years, however, your social media profiles and employment prospects have become directly connected. When companies began facing backlash over employees’ poor Halloween costume choices, drunken shenanigans, and inappropriate tweets, they started to care more and more about online personas. Social searching has become a super-fast and cheap way to run a preliminary background check on potential new hire. While it’s a bit creepy to think about, prospective employers are going to look at your social media presence before considering you for a role. It’s a liability for their bottom line, after all.

But yuck! You don’t want employers stalking you online – you may think it would be better to delete your accounts altogether. Unfortunately, this is a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t situation. If you’re noticeably absent from the online world, some employers consider this a red flag too. It can insinuate that you’re trying to hide something. While this situation seems unwinnable, it’s not. You can leverage a robust social media profile to actually help you score an awesome job!

So what can you do to get your online self there?

Google Yourself

Before you start your job hunt, be sure to fire up that search engine! It may seem silly, but you should find out who else pops up when your name gets typed into Google. Ideally, you want to be in somewhere on the first page, but if you have a common name, don’t sweat it too much.

You’re doing this so that you get an idea of what employers will see when they search for you, and to make sure that what does come up about you isn’t something unflattering.

Create a LinkedIn Page and Actually Use It

No, LinkedIn isn’t dead. It’s actually one of the first places employers look when they’re trying to learn more about you. So go ahead and fill out your profile with all your experience and accomplishments. Next, upload a nice picture of yourself. Then start adding people you know, including friends, family, past coworkers, and old classmates.

Your LinkedIn profile is a great way to get noticed by recruiters and network with others. You can learn about openings you may not have found otherwise!

Build Your Personal Brand

“Personal branding” may be the latest overused buzzword, but there is some merit to it. Social media is a way for employers to see who you are as a person, not just what’s on your resume. If you maintain a well-crafted online persona, employers can better understand who you really are, and evaluate your cultural fit within their company. Facebook and Instagram are two major platforms that give employers a window into who you are.

With that in mind, keep things PG-13. You don’t want potential employers seeing anything distasteful, so give your profile a good deep cleaning. If you find anything you don’t want them seeing, either delete it, archive it, or set it to private. If you’ve been on these major sites since you were a teenager, there may be so more cleaning up to do. It’s worth going back and removing your more unsavory content from your “edgy” years.

If the thought of a recruiter or employer reviewing your personal profiles gives you the creeps, it’s okay to set all of them to private. But make sure that both your profile picture & cover photo are appropriate – these two items are extremely difficult to make completely private, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

You’re Ready to Ride the New Wave of Social Recruiting! 

Over 90% of companies check social media before making their hiring decision and 73% of companies have successfully hired with social recruiting. If you want in on this action, you just need to follow the three simple steps above.