Today, it is entirely common for a recruiter to take a peek at a job candidate’s social media profiles to see what the person is like. Unfortunately, you could lose the chance to snag a great job if your profile looks too juvenile or has other problems. By following these tips, however, you will know what to look for and how to make social media profiles that will impress even the toughest of recruiters.

Are Your Pictures Professional Looking?

On sites like Twitter and Facebook, there is nothing wrong with having casual pictures of yourself. However, you should still consider how the pictures might make you look to the general public. Pictures of you relaxing in jeans and a T-shirt are fine, but those that show you in a trashy Halloween get-up or a picture you doing a keg stand back in college are not. Since you never know who might come across these pictures, make sure that you are appropriately dressed in each picture and that you aren’t doing anything that could make you look like less than a real professional.

On LinkedIn, you should be even more cautious about the pictures that you post. Since LinkedIn is a professional social networking site, it is important to put your best foot forward. Although you don’t have to be dressed up in a suit and tie, you should go for a more conservative look on this site. Also, try to avoid posting pictures of your kids, pets or friends on LinkedIn; instead, consider posting a nice, professional-looking head shot of yourself.

Be Careful About Your Posts

What you post on social media sites can come back and haunt you later on. Although a lot of people like to have heated political or religious debates on these sites, it’s best to abstain from doing so. These beliefs should never make it into the workplace, and they can if they are posted all over your social media profile. Also, be careful about swearing, talking about drinking or otherwise making yourself look unreliable. Although doing these things on your time off certainly doesn’t mean that you’re an unreliable employee, they simply don’t look good to potential recruiters.

It is also important to be as mature as possible on your social media websites. Sharing your personal drama or acting too juvenile can make you look far less appealing to recruiters than those who maintain a professional and mature appearance at all times, even on Facebook.

Are Your Connections Making You Look Bad?

Although you can’t control what your friends do, you should understand that they can make you look bad on social media. For example, if you have friends who like to post party pictures from college while tagging you in them, you need to have a discussion with them right away. Also, consider kindly asking your friends and other contacts not to post things on your profile that could be considered inappropriate or that could offend someone.

Tips for a Social Media Profile That a Recruiter Will Love

Now that you know what you shouldn’t do on social media sites, you might be wondering how you can build a social media profile that will make you look good to potential employers. Luckily, following these tips can help you build a profile that you can be proud to show off to recruiters.

  • Make professional connections when possible. It’s always a good idea to network with those who are as dedicated to your industry as you are.
  • Fill out your profile completely. List information about your work experience, educational history and passions, and post a link to your website if you have one.
  • Make sure that you do post a picture. Although posting inappropriate pictures can hurt you, posting nice ones can certainly help you seem more personable.
  • Be human. Although you shouldn’t post offensive or immature things on your social media profiles, there is nothing wrong with telling non-offensive jokes or communicating with friends in a positive manner. In fact, doing so can make you seem a bit more fun and lively.