As more prospective employers turn to social networking profiles to vet potential staff, employees are ensuring their personal profiles are inoffensive and professional to avoid the kind of negative scrutiny that could end up costing them a potential job.
Some 36 percent of professionals now believe making their profiles employer-friendly is very important, according to a survey of 3,500 people in 26 countries by Robert Walters. Thirty-three percent see it as somewhat important, and just 15 percent consider it unimportant.
Robert Walters director Erica Lindberg said the findings demonstrate employees are waking up to the fact that their personal social networking profiles are in the public domain, and likely to be examined.
“Professionals need to realise that what you make available online, regardless of the motivation, all forms part of your ‘online brand’. Employers often give in to the temptation to look up potential candidate’s online presence, so it is a candidate’s responsibility to ensure their presence on social networking sites is non offensive.”
With this in mind, Lindberg suggests professionals follow five steps to keep their profiles employer-friendly:
1. Ensure you have a presence on professional networking sites such as LinkedIn as well as the social sites.
2. Monitor the photos, videos and messages you and your friends post.
3. Be conscious of when and how often you post, as regular updates during business hours can create the impression that you spend more time on social networking sites than working.
4. Create a Google Alert on your name so that you can be aware of what is being said about you and take action as required.
5. Be savvy about your privacy settings and have consistency across your profiles on different sites. Remember that anything that goes up online can spread very quickly.