My position as an entrepreneur and small business owner requires me to wear many hats. I try to delegate as much authority as possible, but responsibility for hiring new employees ultimately lands in my lap.
The months of May and June bring more than spring flowers. More than one million recent graduates begin searching in earnest for their first professional job every spring. I see my fair share of impressive resumes. To whittle down the pile of resumes, I perform an online name search of potential interviewees. You would be amazed (or maybe not) at the things I find.
So here is a bit of advice from a business owner and hiring manager to anyone seeking employment in this intensely competitive job market: Clean up your social media pages before you present yourself to me as a candidate. What you have posted on those social media pages may be the difference between getting an interview or not.
If you want to get my attention in a positive way pay attention to these five things when reviewing your social media pages:
Post Professional Photos Only: You and your friends might think those photos of you flipping off the camera, doing keg stands, or passed out on the sofa with strange things painted on your face are hilarious. You may even think you look great in that semi-nude photo; but I have to tell you, those are not things I want to see. Remember that if hired, you will be representing me and my company. Replace inappropriate pictures with conservative professional images if you want me to give you serious consideration as a candidate for employment.
School is Over and So is the Party: This does not mean you have to stop enjoying life. It just means I am not going to be impressed with posts about how plastered you got during your last spring break trip to Cancun. Be smart and delete posts referring to parties and excessive drinking. I am not amused or entertained by them. I have passed over more than one qualified job-hunter because of these sorts of unflattering posts.
Clean Up Your Language: Online profanity tells me you may be immature and lack communication skills. I am not a prude by any means, but I am not impressed by candidates who cannot speak without cussing. Delete any posts (both yours and other’s) on your social media pages that contain offensive language. Hiring managers do not want to see them.
Drop the Negativity: Many people have posted things in anger that they later regret. I will not abide bad attitudes and negativity. They are infectious and I will not tolerate toxic behaviors in my workplace. When I see negativity posted on social media, I think “If he cannot treat his friends with respect and civility, how is he going to treat his colleagues and my customers.” Delete all negative posts before I see them.
Delete the Flame Wars: If you have a temper, I do not want to see it. Don’t display it on social media outlets. Fighting always looks bad. I am looking for team players and hard workers. I am not looking for mean-spirited, self-indulgent pugilists lacking discretion and tact.
The importance of presenting a positive image on social media cannot be underestimated. An impressive resume and intelligent networking efforts can be negated if your social media page portrays you in a negative way. The potential problem areas mentioned above are easy to find and fix. Make sure you do it before you approach me for a job.