Cancer and Careers often highlights the importance of one’s online presence in the context of a cancer patient’s/survivor’s professional image. While anyone looking for work should consider their activity (past or present) in the online space, if you have a history of a diagnosis, it’s even more important to clean up your social media to ensure you are protecting your privacy and disclosing only the information you’d feel comfortable having an employer know about you.
An increasing number of hiring managers use social media platforms to learn more about prospective candidates — and what they find can influence whether or not they offer them a job. The instance of an applicant not being hired as a result of something found on his/her social media profile has become common. In fact, one in three employers have rejected candidates due to something discovered in an online search. The good news is, there are ways to prevent that from happening to you.
Our friends at The Muse recently published an article on “8 Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Social Media.” It offers key information to help job-seekers understand the importance of a polished social media presence. We’ve highlighted a few of the standouts:
- Make Your Accounts Private. It’s as simple as visiting your privacy settings and selecting the option that allows only your “friends” to see your activity.
- Hide or Delete Any Inappropriate Posts. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are gone forever, but it does mean they are relatively inaccessible to those without permission to access them.
- Post Industry-Related News, Quotes or Articles. This is where you can really control your image and promote your professional interests. For example, highlighting market trends demonstrates that you keep abreast of what’s going on in the industry you want to work in; promoting a mission that is important to you speaks to your character and passions.
- Follow Inspiring People and Companies. By following specific blogs and news sources, you’re showing a hiring manager that you’re eager to learn and absorb information. Similar to the idea that your friends can be considered a representation of you, whom you follow online can also be considered a reflection of you.
While there is no exact science to all of this, one way to begin the process is by examining your social media presence and asking yourself if you would be comfortable discussing during an interview what can be found out about you online. From there, you can remove any items that might take the focus away from who you are as a professional, and instead highlight the elements of your work and personal experience that matter.
If you’d like more information about using social media to your advantage, take a look at our Balancing Work & Cancer webinar recording on “Using Social Media to Tell Your Best Story.” For additional information on ways to protect yourself online and at work, you can view our recording on “Disclosure, Privacy & Online Brand,” which will cover what you should consider with regard to the online space when you have a diagnosis. Registration and further details can be found here.
Still feeling unsure about what your online presence is suggesting about you? Take a look at our section on Your Online Footprint for more articles on assessing what impression your social media profiles may be giving to potential employers.