How your social media presence impacts your chance of getting a job in hospitality
When it comes to hospitality job search tools, the resume has always been king. However, this old-fashioned career summary document may be in danger of losing its throne—or at least having to share it. One recent survey found that 60 percent of hiring managers regularly use social networking sites to research job candidates. It’s easy to understand why; your profiles on social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter give employers a window into your life that they otherwise wouldn’t have—allowing them to better assess your character, values, and commitment before they’ve even met you in a face-to-face interview.
This is great—provided they like what they see. If your social media presence leaves a less-than-favorable impression, it’s safe to assume they won’t be offering you that hospitality position. Fortunately, we have a few suggestions to help you make sure they find your digital footprint pleasing and professional.
Clean up your social media act
According to the results of the aforementioned survey, 21 percent of employers are looking at your social media profile with the express purpose of finding a reason not to hire you. Forty-nine percent of them report they’ve done so successfully. Web content they cited as reasons for rejection included provocative photos/videos/information, posts about drinking/drug use, discriminatory comments, derogatory remarks about employers/coworkers, and poor communication skills.
If you’re looking for a new hotel or restaurant job, or any other position in hospitality, you’ll need to keep all of your status updates, posts and tweets squeaky clean until you’re hired. You should also go back through the content you’ve previously put online and look at it from a hospitality hiring manager’s perspective. Delete anything that might paint a negative picture—from political rants to party pics and off-color humor. Services such as Rep’nUp can help you do this quickly and efficiently.
Note: You don’t want to completely eliminate your passions and personality from your profiles. Use your own discretion when determining whether or not to remove content. For example, the survey mentioned above identified “posts about drinking” as one reason employers rejected candidates. However, if you’re applying for a position as a bartender, restaurant bar manager, sommelier, liquor sales rep or another job that requires you to know about beer, wine, and liquor, an employer may actually view responsible posts about those topics favorably.
Update your social media accounts regularly
It’s better to be active—daily or even weekly—on one or two social media platforms than to have accounts on every site and never use them. At the very least, every hospitality job seeker should have a LinkedIn account (in addition to a resume uploaded to Hcareers) where they can showcase their career history, accomplishments, and recommendations. They should also have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account through which they can give employers a peek at their life outside the office. If it’s been awhile since you’ve done anything with your social media profiles, set aside time to update them before you begin your job search.
Use your profiles to build a consistent, professional brand
What do employers want to see when they review your online presence? According to the survey mentioned earlier, they want to confirm your background supports the job qualifications stated on your resume, your personality is a good fit for their company culture, you have a wide range of well-rounded interests, you can convey a professional image, and you communicate effectively. Hospitality hiring managers may also be impressed by positive posts about your experiences working in hotels or restaurants, comments on industry-related news and data, and updates about continuing education or volunteer work you’re pursuing.
Make it easy for employers to find you
A 2015 survey found that 35 percent of employers are less likely to interview candidates if they cannot find anything about them online. Whenever possible, use your real name when creating handles for your social media profiles. If your name is taken, try adding a number. If that won’t work, choose something else (preferably something professional) and include your handle with the rest of your contact information on your cover letter and resume.
Note: If you find it too difficult to moderate your social media presence on your personal accounts, set them as private and create an additional professional Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account instead.