Whether you like it or not, recruiters, potential employers, the competition and anyone with a computer has the ability to check out your online identity. This is most common on LinkedIn, because that’s what it’s there for: a professional profile making you look all professional (and stuff). BUT it usually doesn’t stop there, as the same people are just as likely to check you out on other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and G+
So if you want to be in the running for that dream job, make sure you stop, think and consider some, or all, of my social media career survival tips next time you post on social networks.
Social Media Monitoring and Checks
Reppler, a social media monitoring service designed to help users manage their online image, conducted a survey of 300 hiring professionals in 2013 – 2014 and found that 91% of respondents thoroughly scrutinize an applicant’s online reputation during the hiring process. Here’s an interesting infographic on the subject.
It’s safe to say that what you do on social media these days can definitely impact your career path and employability. Professionals in the hiring trade will use any tool available to avoid an egg-on-face situation before inviting you to a job interview or introducing you to their client. With this being said, you can secure your social media image with these 10 steps.
# 1 Be a Social Butterfly
Become a listed and active member of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ as this does more than just make you look like a go-getter. It helps to eliminate the possibility of undesirable and uncontrolled information about you from making its way to the top of a Google search. These sites are so popular that results from this page always rank highly. That way any unauthorized content related to you (if it exists) is less likely to make an appearance to a possible employer. Contact us if you want to know more, or simply read up on previous blog posts on the subject.
# 2 First Impressions Count
You have only a few seconds before a view forms an opinion, so ensure that your social media accounts provide the best impression of you.
Everyone can benefit from regularly reviewing their profile once in a while. You’d never go into an interview with an out-of-date CV, so why ignore your social media profiles?
Make sure your social media accounts are completed, ensure that all your profile info is accurate, up-to-date and consistent across your various social media accounts. Most importantly always double check your privacy settings! Use a recent photo where you look smart and casual and don’t forget to smile.
# 3 Be a Social Networking Ninja
The ever-evolving nature of social networking has made it necessary to always clean up, and I mean more than just your browser history. Hide any networking nasties by pumping-up your social media security settings. That means selecting the highest privacy settings possible in all platforms in which you are active. Be aware: setting photos to ‘friends, network and friends of friends’ in Facebook is not going to keep photographic evidence of your naughties in safe hands. If any photos of you caked in beans are visible, make sure it’s you taking part in a charity event. Similarly – review the likes and events you are associated with.
Being part of a sexist or politically sensitive group or showing evidence of attending anything controversial is not likely to win you job application points. Also, check out the security settings of your friends and the stuff they are posting about you. The last thing, you want, is a clueless friend stuffing up your job applications for you. I’m not kidding, contact me anytime if you want to learn more on that subject – I am happy to assist. We have attended to many clients and showed them how important it is always to be aware of privacy settings as the activity of friends can affect your profile through image tagging and wall posting.
From time to time, social media platforms will add new features or update their privacy terms. So, whenever you’re informed of “updates” by-way of an automatic email from your preferred social network, examine privacy settings for signs of change. Profile updates could include reformatting of such settings and introducing new options that are defaulted to whatever the social network site decides.
# 5 Toot your own horn
We all brag a bit from time to time. You just have to look at your CV to know you’re guilty of it. But why not highlight your professional and personal achievements on social media? I know what you’re thinking, you don’t want to be ‘that person’ who’s constantly bragging about their achievements, but it doesn’t hurt to be a little proud of yourself. Good things happen to those who hustle.
Highlight your achievements, post updates about your work and the results you achieve on a regular basis. Source recommendations and referrals from your existing professional contacts: especially when you are in job hunting mode.
# 6 Become a Sounding Board of Good News
It’s ok to do a little self-campaigning but don’t just focus on yourself all the time. No one is interested in being connected with someone who focuses solely on how wonderful and successful they are. Just like you’d interact with different groups, use social networks to post interesting industry news, join in and contribute in discussions and polls on topics relevant to your work or personal interests.
Be genuine and honest and likable. By placing yourself at the centre of topical industry discussions, you’ll not only raise your personal profile among your contemporaries, you’ll demonstrate your passion and engagement with your work: an attractive quality to any future employer! Talk is cheap – potential employers like to hire doer’s not just talkers.
# 7 Perform a Positive Google Bomb
This is a simple but very effective activity if you have some time to kill. Simply conduct repeated Google searches of your own name with added words that highlight achievements. This is especially effective if these searches lead to information about achievements you otherwise wouldn’t put on a resume for the sake of space. Athletic, volunteer or academic achievements are a good example of search terms to Google bomb.
# 8 Shut Up!
I know it’s a bit harsh, but seriously, how else should I describe this one? “If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. Wise words, particularly in relation to anything written online. Written content is everywhere, lasts longer than you think and can be publicly read all over the web. Don’t be tempted to reply negatively to content on Facebook, Twitter or other sites. Don’t bad mouth your employer, boss, colleagues or customers, as these comments have a nasty (yet strangely reliable) habit of being picked up and shared with the very people you’ve insulted.
Don’t allow anyone to do damage to your reputation online. Stay cool, calm, and contact the person directly to suggest that you move the discussion into a more private domain if need be. If employers check you out online, they are likely to see the fall-out of any ongoing argument, so it’s better to be seen as a peace-maker rather than the aggressor.
What about Humour?!
Be careful with humour as it is very subjective and while you may be confident enough that your joke will be appreciated by those who know you, it may be judged as extremely offensive by others, including customers, clients, and potential employers.
# 9 Trust No One and Always Double Check.
These days nothing is private. Trust no one… ever. This a bit dramatic perhaps, but seriously, if you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your parents seeing it, then it’s not appropriate to upload on any social media site. Think twice before you post any images online and always double check the settings. Remember that it’s not just the photos that you personally post that you need to worry about: you also need to keep a close eye on any photos your friends may have posted that feature you.
# 10 Protect Your Reputation Now, and Clean up with these tools.
Regularly review your social media profiles to make sure your content consists of information you would like to share with employers.
For Facebook, Secure.Me is one of many free tools that reviews content, protects profiles from dangerous links, and monitors photos and friends’ posts. If you want to know more about safe online protection tools, contact me or read up on my other blog posts. If you want to get the best image and reputation out on Google, use BrandYourSelf. They can clean up for you and ensure that Recruiters and Hiring Managers only see the very best of you , when they start snooping on Dr. Google.
So there you have it, 10 top tips on how to avoid damaging your employability while using social media. Use some, or all, of these tips and remember to not shy away from being yourself. Everyone has a unique personality, and the variations of our character are what make us special and employable. Continue sharing about yourself, just keep the above tips in mind when posting on a public site.
Share this blog post if you know a job hunter or career changer who would find this interesting and feel free to comment with your own tips and tricks.
Social Media is a great and very effective tool to enhance your job search, just always remember to hunt wisely!