Looking for a Job? It’s time to Spring Clean Your Social Media!

Are you stuck in a job-hunting rut? Your social media profile/s might be to blame. Did you know that 80% of companies use social media to screen job applicants and are less likely to hire you if they see something that’s highly unprofessional? If you’re in the process of applying for jobs, a stand-out CV and an expertly written cover letter won’t save you if your online presence is actively off-putting.

More and more employers are looking at applicants’ social media profiles as a way to gauge whether they’ll be a good fit for the company. Posts about drinking, drug use, inappropriate content, and discriminatory remarks are all reasons an employer might disregard a candidate based on social media.

Employers also look out for content that suggests the candidate might be a problem employee. Posting defamatory remarks about previous/current employers or colleagues; talking about pulling sickies; and even memes about how much you hate work (as funny as they might be) could give the impression that you have a difficult personality or poor work ethic.

Even if your profile is squeaky clean make sure to keep an eye out for any information that might negate points made in your CV. The last thing an employer wants to see from a candidate who has applied for a copywriting or proof-reading roll is a social media profile full of spelling mistakes.

What Can You Do?

Surely the simple solution is just to make all of your social media profiles private, right? If only it were that easy. Having no social media presence can impact your job search just as negatively as having a bad social media presence. It turns out that hiring managers are just as likely to pass on interviewing candidates who have no online presence whatsoever.

It may seem like a lose-lose situation but there are measures you can take to ensure your social media doesn’t negatively impact your future. The recruitment specialists at Gibson Hollyhomes recommend making the majority of your social media private, keeping one personal profile (semi) public as your main social media presence, and using LinkedIn to your advantage.

Professional Social Media

LinkedIn can be used to communicate a more professional persona across social media. Did you know that 94% of recruiters are on LinkedIn but only 36% of job seekers are? Having a presence on LinkedIn will help you stand out in a large candidate pool, especially if you’re showcasing your skills and achievements appropriately.

If you apply for a job anywhere, it’s very probable that a hiring manager will Google your name and your LinkedIn profile is likely to be the first thing that shows up on the results page. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to scratch by treating it with the same care that you would your CV. This where you differentiate yourself from all the other candidates in your field and build your personal brand.

Whilst it’s important to show personality as much as talent on your LinkedIn profile, be mindful not to seem too informal. Personal updates and/or inappropriate photographs on a network that is specifically reserved for professionals is the fastest way to get yourself eliminated from a candidate pool.

Personal Social Media

When it comes to personal social media, we suggest keeping Facebook as your public profile, since it has the most advanced privacy settings, and making anything like Twitter and Instagram private. Your photos and timeline are the place employers are most likely to scan for problem content. You can set your own photo albums to private however you may have to un-tag yourself from any embarrassing photos your friends have tagged you in otherwise these will be visible in the “Photos of NAME” section of your profile.

Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix when it comes to cleaning up your timeline. We recommend scrolling down through the past year or so and removing (or making private, where possible) any embarrassing or controversial posts. Yes, it’s time consuming, but an evening’s worth of scrolling could be the difference between getting to meet for an interview or having your CV sent to the recycle bin. Remember to check the more innocuous parts of your profile that could contain problem content such as liked pages, groups, and information in your about section.

It never hurts to spring clean your social media, no matter how confident you are that your profile is above board. You never know what your friends could tag you in or share to your timeline. Like it or not, the minute you start a new job your actions are going to reflect upon your employer. By curating a job-friendly social media presence you’re increasing your chances of securing a job and showing a potential employer you’re a risk-free representative of their brand.


  1. https://www.glassdoor.com/blog/8-secrets-recruiters-wont-tell-you/
  2. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/94-recruiters-active-linkedin-only-36-candidates-mikee-shattuck

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