When applying for jobs, it is customary to go through a mental checklist. A stunning CV? Check. Snappy covering letter? Check. Up-to-date LinkedIn profile? Of course. Appropriate Facebook, profile? That’s the one that seems to be catching more and more people out.
Last month, seventeen year old Paris Brown, a youth crime commissioner, came under intense media scrutiny for the controversial content of her official Twitter feed. According to Victoria McLean, Director of City CV, this is proof that “all it takes is a few poorly judged status updates to well and truly stall your career before it has even begun.”
These days, an individual’s online identity can be as much of a deciding factor in the selection process as qualifications and experience.
After all, your social media profiles could be interpreted as the ultimate CV: personal, honest, and 100% you. Which is why employers are increasingly looking at the online presence of their candidates before making a decision.
If you are a student preparing for graduation and steeling yourself for the notoriously competitive job market, then it is absolutely crucial that you get your social media profiles in order before sending out a single application. Says former technology recruiter Nick Bryan: “As someone who has reviewed CVs for IT jobs: yes, we look at your Facebook. And Twitter. And blog.”
While it is hardly an exact science, evidence exists to suggest that certain traits (such as intellectual curiosity, conscientiousness and agreeability) can be determined through the nature of the content that people upload to Facebook. A wide range of personal interests and photographs of travel are generally well received, and even snaps of nights out can demonstrate an extroverted, sociable personality (within reason).
However, a recent study conducted by YouGov found that 42% of university students are concerned that their Facebook photographs, status updates and comments may end up causing them some embarrassment when they go on to seek work.
To further complicate matters, it has been found that in some cases, deleted Facebook content can be viewed up to three years after removal. The constant changing of the settings regarding security and privacy on Facebook also means that a user may believe their profile to be only viewable by approved members, but it is in fact visible to a much wider audience. In these cases, using your own judgement is vital. We would advise, as a rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t say it in the office, don’t say it on the Internet.
If you’d like further help with your CV or online profiles then call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email firstname.lastname@example.org We’re always happy to help. You’ll also find us on citycv.co.uk, on Facebook and LinkedIn.