If you’re looking for a job, or think you might be on the job market soon, new research suggests you better watch what you’re saying on social media. The vast majority (90 percent) of employers look at potential employees’ social media profiles, and 79 percent have rejected a candidate based on what they found, according to a new survey from business news and how-to website The Manifest.
Many people focus on building a professional brand on LinkedIn, but hiring managers also look at candidates’ personal social media profiles such as Facebook and Instagram.
Social media content that can get candidates denied includes:
- Hate speech
- Images of heavy partying or drug use
- Illegal or illicit content
- Poor grammar
- Confidential or sensitive content about former employers
“If you come off as a supremely professional individual on LinkedIn, yet you have images of you partying on Facebook, that’s not going to go over so well,” said David Walter, hiring manager at Electrician Mentor, in a news release.
Job seekers should make their public social media profiles consistent across channels—and set profiles that aren’t professional to private.
Nearly every business conducts background research on job candidates
In a struggling economy, candidates should do all they can to stand out online. In addition to building an appropriate brand on social media, they should also optimize how their name appears on search results.
Ninety-eight percent (98 percent) of businesses do background research on applicants; 43 percent use Google to research employees.
To appear in Google search results, job seekers should update their LinkedIn and Twitter profiles and invest in a personal website. This builds a personal brand that’s consistent across the web.
Already, 80 percent of businesses say a personal website is important when evaluating job candidates.
“A great personal brand helps us determine a fit for the company culture,” said Alex Azoury, founder of coffee company Home Grounds, in the release. “Personal websites definitely don’t hurt, as long as the website builds a personal brand as an extension of social media presence.”
Businesses still value resumes
Building a personal brand online is essential in 2020, but job seekers must still focus on building a good resume.
Nearly three-quarters of businesses (72 percent) say a resume is very important when evaluating candidates. A resume that aligns with a job seeker’s personal brand helps them stand out in a crowded field of applicants.
“Instead of the run-of-the-mill statements touting skills, hiring managers are looking for more depth,” Azoury said.
Even if job seekers are in an industry that’s not widely hiring during the COVID-19 pandemic, they can still focus on building a personal brand to stand out when hiring ramps up again.
The Manifest’s 2020 Personal Branding Survey included 505 employers in the U.S.