How to Build Your Online Music Reputation as You Job Search
Job searching is stressful. You take time to prepare different resumes targeted to different types of jobs. You practice your interview skills. All this work to craft how a potential employer sees you.
And then they check your Instagram page…
A 2018 survey of employers found that 70% of them check an applicant's social media. Some have even taken to asking for applicant's logins to their social media accounts. More states are making such requests illegal. The point remains that employers want to learn as much as they can about who they might hire. Examining your online presence is too rich an opportunity for them to pass up.
Which means, you need to get to your online presence first. An employer will either like you more or less based on what they see. It's part of your job as a jobseeker to make sure your online reputation reflects well on you as a musician and a potential employee.
Step 1: Clean it up
No generation has posted more personal content for the world to see than Millennials. Gen Z is reversing that trend and getting far more cautious about what they share online. Regardless, everyone has an online trail.
The first step is to Google yourself and see what comes up. Does the stuff with the most positive potential – like your YouTube channel where you vlogged about music school – rank high? Or is it a stream of party images you've been tagged in?
Does personal information come up? information you didn't even know was out there? By assessing what you see, you'll know what assets to strengthen and which you need to remove.
Next, audit your own social media streams for any nasty comments or incriminating photos you may have posted. Remove them. Review photos in which you're tagged, but you didn't post. You can't remove someone else's photo, but on some platforms, you can take your tag off or limit who can see photos you're tagged in.
Which leads to the final major clean-up task: Review your privacy settings on all your accounts. Facebook photos are set to public as default, even if you've set your posts to private. So check every privacy property to protect yourself.
Step 2: Set up separate social media accounts for your professional music life
Perhaps you're bristling at the idea of limiting the reach of your social media accounts by locking them down as private. Consider opening separate accounts that focus on your musical world. You'll have personal, private accounts for family and close friends. Use your public accounts to build your brand and advance your career.
To backfill a new, professional profile quickly, pick some of your best music-related content from your existing social media. Not every post needs to be about music; the content needs to show an authentic you that enhances your public persona.
Step 3: Understand what employers want (and don't want) to learn about you when they search you online
They do want to learn more about your personal side. That's why if you create separate public accounts, they should still reflect who you are. You aren't going to post drunken vacation pics or political polemics on them. But you should certainly be posting a sightseeing pic or your participation at a charity event.
Employers also want to see evidence online of what you've told them on your resume or at an interview. If you spoke a lot about charity work you do, they'd expect to see evidence of that on your social media. Did you play up your experience in competitions, volunteering at summer festivals, or as a member of a youth orchestra? They'll find it curious if you have nothing posted about any of those experiences online.
They do want some evidence of your aptitude as well. As a musician, this is the most natural part of building your online reputation. Between your parents, teachers, and friends, you must have tons of video content of your performances. You can also create new performance videos specifically for posting.
And don't feel awkward about including video from your first recital where you stopped mid-performance to wave to your mom. Presented well, seeing your journey as a musician will be very compelling viewing.