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A Social Media Makeover: Making your Accounts Professional

By Kristine Penning, Creative Marketing Specialist, AgCareers.com

If you think that employers won’t be looking at your social media profiles once you’ve applied to a few jobs, think again. More than half of ag employers use social media to support their recruitment efforts (2014-2015 Agribusiness HR Review)

Help yourself make a strong impression once your potential employer logs in and checks out who you really are behind your resume. 

Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat

What to Clear Out: 

Facebook and Instagram are great for posting photos in the moment, keeping in touch with friends and interacting with businesses, but they are also known for revealing pictures. If you’re applying to jobs, it might be a good idea to go through both photos you’ve posted and photos you’ve been tagged in and deleting anything questionable such as party photos, anything obviously involving alcohol or drugs, and any photo displaying promiscuous or overly affectionate behavior.

You may want to ask your friends to delete any photos you’ve been tagged in that fall into those categories, even after you’ve untagged yourself. They’re still out there and can still be found. This is very true of Snapchat. The snaps you send don’t disappear. They can easily be captured via screenshot, saved and posted elsewhere by someone. Be wary of what you snap and send.

Once you’ve cleaned up your photos, go through your posts on Facebook and delete anything offensive or questionable as well. Also look out for spelling or grammatical errors in your posts.

How to Impress: 

Choose modest profile pictures and cover photos. If you really want to impress an employer, choose photos that display how you want to come across. Have a friend take a headshot of you dressed professionally or working in the field you are trying to be employed in.

Twitter

What to Clear Out: 

The guidelines for cleaning up your Facebook essentially apply to your Twitter account as well, but you will need to keep a closer eye on what you’ve tweeted and retweeted. Sure, you’ll want to delete any obviously suggestive or offensive tweets, but you’ll also want to watch out for tweets that may make you seem arrogant, insensitive, ignorant, or hurtful. If you get as far as an interview, don’t tweet about its outcome, even if you feel it went well. An employer could see it and think you’re too sure of yourself.

How to Impress: 

Follow some businesses or organizations that would impress an employer (including theirs!) and retweet some of their content. Comment on current events in your career sector or industry. And don’t feel like you can’t be yourself—you can still share something funny that happened, talk about last night’s game or quote song lyrics, just make sure all is written in good taste.

Pinterest

What to Clear Out: 

You might not be worried about your Pinterest account, but there are still some things to check out. Have you pinned anything classless or suggestive? Unpin it. Do you have any boards that are titled poorly? Retitle them. 

How to Impress:

Like Twitter, follow businesses or organizations that relate to what job you are looking for or what you’re interested in. Go deeper than just recipes and DIY tutorials. Really show who you are and what you stand for within your pins. Show that you read. Show that you love agriculture. Show that you’re interested in learning more about what you do.

LinkedIn

What to Clear Out: 

While it seems like LinkedIn should be a no-brainer of how to present yourself, it doesn’t hurt to check for grammatical or spelling errors or anything too generic. You want to describe yourself and your experience in a stand-out way. Don’t make your descriptions simple and overstated that your employer has already read about someone else.

How to Impress:

Many young professionals underuse their LinkedIn accounts. Get connected with anyone you’ve met or networked with in your industry. Your employer might know of them. And don’t just set up a profile and never look at it again. LinkedIn, like Facebook, allows you to share updates and the content of others. Take that opportunity to show how invested you are in what you do and what you know about.

The bottom line: employers are looking, they can see just about anything you post, and anything you post to social media lasts forever. Make sure what you post and how you present yourself online truly reflects the best you and employers will take note. 


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