9 Ways to Get Your Social Media Accounts Ready for the Job Market
You’re applying for jobs, and your resume and cover letter are polished and ready to go. But what about your social media profiles? Employers often look beyond application materials and consider your online presence when they make hiring decisions. Follow these steps to prepare your Twitter, Facebook, and other social profiles for your job search.
1. Update your profile pictures and descriptions
Update your profile pictures across all social media sites, and use the same professional photo for all profiles. Then, an employer who looks at any of your profiles immediately sees a professional image, and it’s obvious that all your profiles belong to the same person, which avoids confusion. Update your About Me descriptions on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to say that you’re looking for opportunities. Include the type of position you’re looking for, and add an email address and/or phone number so recruiters who see your profile can get in touch with you.
2. Remove personal or controversial content
Take down any social media posts that you wouldn’t want an employer or recruiter to see. Anything overly personal or posts that broach subjects you wouldn’t talk about at work should come down. Remove posts that show nudity or that suggest drug use or illegal activity—even if they’re memes or jokes. Remember to check photo galleries, including previous profile pictures.
3. Check your likes
While you’re removing problematic content, remember to check the Likes sections on Twitter and Facebook. If you’ve pressed the little red heart on an offensive tweet—even ironically or as a joke—an employer might see that and assume it reflects your opinion. Similarly, you want to check that your Facebook likes don’t include any offensive or controversial pages. If you want to see updates from any controversial organizations, go to their pages and make sure you have “Following” selected but not “Liked.”
4. If necessary, batch delete old posts
If you’ve been on social media for years and have thousands of old posts, combing through them all in search of one or two off-color jokes might be impossible. It’s more efficient to delete all previous posts in a large batch using an app like Tweet Delete or Clear. After you delete, add some new, work-appropriate posts so your profiles won’t be empty.
5. Tweet or post your elevator pitch
Write a short “elevator pitch” that mentions the kind of job you’re looking for and highlights your main qualifications. Feature this elevator pitch at the top of your LinkedIn profile, right under your photograph. Rewrite your elevator pitch as a tweet and as a Facebook post. Pin the tweet to the top of your profile (using the menu at the top-right corner of the tweet). Pin the post to the top of your Facebook timeline, too, and make sure the post is set to public. Then if employers view any of your profiles, your elevator pitch is one of the first things they see.
6. Link to your LinkedIn profile or professional website
Insert a link to your LinkedIn profile in all your other social media profiles. If you have a professional website, add the link to that website as well. Recruiters who come across one of your profiles might want to see your resume or learn more about your experience. Providing a link makes this easy and convenient for them.
7. Use keywords
Keywords aren’t just for resumes! Position yourself as an expert on social media by integrating job-related keywords into your posts. For example, you could share news articles about the hospitality industry or post tips about your area of knowledge, whether that’s operations, culinary arts, or any other department. A good way to work in keywords on Twitter is to join a Twitter chat, where participants use a common hashtag to discuss fields like marketing or accounting.
8. Pare down your following/friends lists
Are you following 10 or 100 times as many people as follow you back on Twitter or Instagram? Do you have thousands of Facebook friends that you don’t know personally and don’t interact with much? If so, you may want to pare down your follows and friends while you’re actively job searching. Having a large number of follows or friends makes it more likely that you’re connected to someone who’s posting offensive content without you realizing it, and employers may hold that against you. Also, a skewed following-to-followers ratio may make it look like you’re not engaged with your social media connections.
9. Interact with other hospitality professionals
Write replies to other hospitality professionals’ tweets and posts. Retweet, like, and share what other people in the industry have written. This shows an employer who may be browsing your profile that you are involved in conversations within the industry. You may also meet some new contacts this way who might give you a heads up about new job openings and opportunities.