There’s no escaping the fact that social media plays a significant part in our day-to-day lives. Consequently, it’s very important that you keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to your online presence and personal branding. If you aren’t projecting ‘the right’ image to existing and future employers, then you could be putting your career in jeopardy…
LinkedIn now boasts over 433 million users, with two new people joining every second! Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest also haves stats that are equally as mind-boggling: This clearly highlights the rapid growth and importance of social media.
As recruiters, you should be checking all of your candidates’ social media accounts. This will help you to decide whether you are happy to represent them and put them forward for roles. This is even more important for roles that require the candidate to have an active social presence.
Here are some tips to ensure that your social presence isn’t hampering career development:
Pick the perfect pic: Remember when photographs were more personal and only a select group of people saw them? Well that’s no longer the case. We now live in a world of public platforms, where privacy is nothing but a distant memory.
The most important photo of all is undoubtedly your profile photo.
Your profile photo is your visual identity to the rest of the world — and however unfair it may be, it plays a significant role in how people decide to perceive you, and in some cases whether or not they will hire you. With that in mind you must start making measured photo choices in order to dictate the way you want to be viewed.
While each social platform has a different audience, it’s good practice to operate them as if you were sharing them within a professional environment. It is therefore advisable to choose a photo that projects the way you want to be perceived by a future employer. You should be the only person in the photo and it should be both professional and tasteful. This means no photos of you touching noses with your adorable new puppy!
Get to know your audience: Looking professional isn’t a case of ‘one size fits all.’ – You must have a clear understanding of your audience and operate your social media in the correct way. For example, if you work in media or a creative field then the corporate look probably won’t coincide with your audiences’ tastes. Conversely, if you work in law or finance then you can’t be too informal, as it won’t help your case.
There’s no clear check-list that states how to operate each platform for each profession, but if you aren’t sure then I would err on the side of professionalism, and also check out other peoples’ profiles in the same profession as yours to get some indicators.
Consistency is the key to success: The most important element of social media success is consistency. Start small in order to decide how much time you can dedicate daily and start to integrate this into your daily routine. The time it takes to operate your social media platform is completely dependent on your targets, goals and willingness to put in the work.
It is essential that all of your social channels are aligned and don’t contradict each other: For example, If you have a professional ‘buttoned-up’ LinkedIn profile and an informal Facebook page then you’re creating a conflicting and confusing portrayal of yourself.
Use all of your resources: You should avoid focusing all your attention on one channel and neglecting the others; this could result in you missing out on opportunities and being overlooked by people who primarily use a different channel to you. Dependent on your industry, you should select your primary channel and then decide which ones will be your secondary channels – don’t neglect any.
Don’t air your dirty laundry in public:
Life is tough – We all have problems –We all need to vent. That doesn’t mean you need to post your problems online for the whole world to see!
Social media may feel like your best friend who is always readily available with a sympathetic ear, but it’s not! In fact it’s your worst enemy in these situations and can come back to haunt you when you least expect it to…
If you consistently use social media as your personal journal you could come across as emotionally unstable and also as untrustworthy. Imagine if a future employer was interested in hiring you, and then they checked out your social media pages and were immediately put-off by the thought that you could bad mouth them and their company online if it doesn’t work out…
Use your common sense: This should be mind-numbingly obvious but you have to use your common sense and always think long and hard about what you post online. You’d be surprised by how many times I’ve heard of instances when a potential employer has seen an image, video or status that has put them off from a candidate. Once something is online it never really goes away – with that in mind you must ensure that your social channels are set so you have to verify anything that people post about you.
To conclude, it all links back to knowing your audience – the real skill in portraying yourself in the right way is in determining who might be viewing your profiles and deciding what they would and would not want to see.
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