Career

2 Ways to Improve Your Job Prospects By Cleaning Up Your Social Media Accounts

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Joanne Poh

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Growing up, you did whatever your parents told you to do. You studied hard at school, attended tuition in every subject and made it to a local university. You got a prestigious honours degree in finance, and now you’re all set to make a pile of cash so you can buy that car and condo.

But despite the fact that you’ve ticked all the right boxes, your job search isn’t going as well as you might like. What could be the matter?

Now, you might think of your potential employer as an overweight, middle aged man who has no idea how to send SMSes, let alone navigate social media.

But guess what? Virtually every employer googles job candidates online. That means the company you’re hoping to join will see all your social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Here are two things you might need to change on yours.

 

Get rid of negative posts

Even if you don’t have anything particularly offensive on social media, you will still be judged in some way or other based on what you post. And while you should certainly remove pictures of yourself inebriated or behaving in a risqué manner, your social media accounts could nonetheless signal to an employer that you wouldn’t be “a good fit” in the company.

As a general rule of thumb, here are some items you should check for and remove from your social media accounts.

  • Negative or complaining posts, even if they’re written in a cryptic manner, suggest to an employer that you might have a bad attitude at work or are in general a whiny person
  • Bitchy, nasty or overly critical posts, such as comments calling other people  “whores”
  • Posts that showcase your political views
  • Any xenophobic or otherwise offensive remarks
  • Stomp-shaming another person, whether in pictures or text
  • Offensive posts, such as photos of yourself flashing the middle finger or text posts containing racial slurs

You would think the above would be a no-brainer, but we see all of them every single day on our social media feeds.

Even if your social media profiles are private, your friends can see them, and not only do we have a loose definition of “friend” on social media, Singapore is also a small place. Each time a colleague has added me on social media, we’ve always discovered that we had that one friend in common. So you can never be too careful.

 

Showcase yourself as a well-rounded person with an interest in your industry

If you’re scrambling to do damage control after reading this article, you probably want to make all your social media accounts private or delete most of your posts altogether.

But employees who are super savvy might actually be able to use their social media accounts to promote themselves. I know more than one person who’s managed to get a job offer thanks to their blog or social media account, so it’s possible.

When crafting your social media persona, employers like to see that you have an interest in and are knowledgeable in your industry, so any posts that contribute to that will help you. If you’re super hardcore, you might even decide to start a blog to showcase your industry expertise, and then share those posts on Facebook.

If you work in the creative industry, social media is a fantastic way to showcase your work. In fact, the only people who should be regularly posting food pictures are either chefs or photographers.

But even if you’re not about to flood your Facebook feed with shared articles about banks’ compliance regulations or data security issues (yawn), a carefully-curated Facebook profile can show potential employers that you’re a well rounded person with a healthy range of interests and a good personality.

Generally, showcasing a life that involves a bit of sports, some hobbies and an interest about the world around you reflects positively on you.

On the other hand, if all your posts contain pictures of you showing off the spoils of lavish shopping trips (i.e. what happened to Tin Pei Ling), dissemination of celebrity gossip or OOTD posts, you risk coming off as a little one-dimensional, and employers who are particularly concerned about personality might give your application a miss.

How do you think your social media profiles measure up when you’re looking for a job? Tell us in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.