from Fast Company
Recruiters and hiring managers sifting through your social media accounts before giving you a call is nothing new, but their vetting process might be more rigorous–and idiosyncratic–than you think. When it comes to scoping out candidates with an ideal social media presence, here’s what recruiters are actually looking for when they scope you out.
EQUAL PARTS ATTITUDE AND APTITUDE
Ariel Lopez, founder and CEO of career platform 2020Shift, says employers tend to look for a 50/50 split between “attitude” and “aptitude” when scanning job seekers’ social accounts.
“Someone that has the skills but someone that I like and want to be around for 40 hours a week” might be more likely to catch recruiters’ attention, says Lopez (who’s a former recruiter herself), than someone who hasn’t quite nailed that personal-branding equilibrium.
It’s tricky balancing professionalism with personality, especially when you use social media to share funny memes and catch up with friends in addition to showcasing your expertise. But Lopez believes there’s a risk to tamping down your personality–which recruiters know matters a lot when it comes to how you’ll fit it on a team. “I think some people forget in your career, it’s not just like a solo thing . . . When a company decides to hire you, they’re fixing a problem. You are filling a void.”
So play to each platform’s strengths. Recruiters don’t want you to treat LinkedIn like Twitter and share your every thought. But don’t treat Twitter like LinkedIn, either! While you’ll want to avoid tweeting anything offensive or crude, Lopez encourages job seekers to be themselves. If you’re showing more attitude on the one social network, just make sure you’re making up the difference in aptitude on the other.
A SHARP, CONSISTENT VISUAL BRAND
As most job seekers already know, profile pictures that look unprofessional–blurry, badly cropped, or show you in an inappropriate setting–can make recruiters run the other way. For starters, take the time to ask a friend to take a photo of you, rather than just using a selfie from your last vacation.
But Lopez suggests thinking beyond just your avatar. “I encourage professionals to have a style guide for themselves,” she says. “What’s your color? What’s your font? I want to get a sense of how you see yourself as a brand.” She also suggests avoiding self-proclaimed titles that might come off as pretentious or simply mischaracterize what you really do. Instead, be straightforward about your role and try to establish a professional aesthetic across all your social accounts.
This goes for your side projects, too, by the way. If you’re a gastronomy blogger, don’t come up with a “unique” title like “gastro-ninja”–just let your content speak for itself, and allow visitors to recognize on their own what makes it innovative or interesting.