Whether you’re a technophobe or tech savvy, you cannot deny that we are very firmly in the digital age. Social media has become its own formidable beast and over half the globe has an email address. Which means, the majority of us are online, including employers, and they’re only a google search away from finding out all about you; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We are entering a new era of background checks but don’t be scared off and hastily sign off! Being online presents plenty of opportunities for job seekers. If you’re not familiar with the digital arena, it might be time to get social media smart and building up a professional presence online. Or, if you’re already well established on the ‘gram, it might be time to have a spring clean!

Have an employable email address

When did you last update your email address? It’s not unusual for a job seeker to hold the same email addresses they used to create their MSN and Myspace account during their pre-pubescent years.

The email handles can certainly be inventive. In fact, we can almost always rely on them for a little giggle, but a little giggle is not what you want out of a potential employer. To avoid your CV being tossed straight in the bin before they’ve even given your skills and experience a second look, we recommend you keep it strictly professional. Keep it to your first name and surname and you can’t go far wrong.

Scrub up your social media

85% of employers indicate that they are less likely to hire candidates whose social media profiles exhibit unprofessional behaviour. More and more employers are taking steps in their hiring process to review Facebook and other social media profiles of job candidates, and an unpolished profile can raise a lot of red flags.

Tagged posts and photos from friends include content you can’t control, so ensure that you customise your filters and privacy settings so that you don’t have anything you wouldn’t want an employer to see. Be warned though, privacy settings are not sure-fire every time, however, so anything online, private or not, has the potential to go public.

Think before you tweet

How would you like others to perceive you? How would you like employers to perceive you? The language you use in your posts, tweets (and even blogs), are there for all to see and will naturally give people an impression of you. It would be a good idea that it’s an impression you’d like to give a potential employer. The best thing is to keep everything PG and PC.

Have a professional profile picture

Job sites such as LinkedIn can be a great tool for boosting your professional online presence, networking and even securing your next gig. However, the thing about social media is that it is all about image, so make sure you look the part. The first thing an employer will see before they even read your name, is your profile picture.

Your profile picture on your personal profiles can be… well… personal (within reason), but your professional profile should emanate employability. We’re not suggesting you upload a passport photo, in fact, that would just be weird, but make sure you look presentable! We recommend the following:

  • Dress smart
  • Don’t use a selfie
  • Look like YOU
  • SMILE!

Share industry news

Don’t be afraid of sharing your professional views on your profile. Use this platform to share and comment on industry news, give your opinion and pose a question to your connections. This is the best way to show an employer that you are actively engaged with your industry and keeping up to date with the latest headlines and ongoings.

Claim your bragging rights

It doesn’t come naturally to everyone to shout out about your victories and can feel awkward when it is not amongst family and friends. Professional social media is a different ballgame, so put all modesty aside and shout your latest and greatest achievements from the rooftops… you might just catch the eye of your next employer!

Good luck!

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