This day and age, it’s almost uncommon to not have your personal information on a public social media website, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn (just to name a few!). The use of social media is actually a trending recruitment process in many professions. If you are looking for a job and you’re not on LinkedIn or do not yet know what the site entails, you should probably start researching, as you are in the minority. This can be just as important as attending job fairs, face-to-face networking, and sending out resumes, says author Jack Stonehouse in his “Job Seekers, Is Your Social Media Profile Squeaky Clean?” article. The important piece of advice isn’t just having a social media profile, but ensuring that the profile reflects that you are professional and trustworthy. Does this description fit you or do you know that you may have some clean-up work in your future?
A large percentage of the population has a LinkedIn or Facebook account at this point, or even a My Space account (yep, it’s making a come back by targeting audiences with the marketing of such artists as Justin Timberlake and Maroon 5). Have you recently performed a Google search on yourself to see what information appears from these sites? Will that information harm your upcoming promotion or will it set you apart and promote your knowledge base and skill set?
If you see the following appearing on your accounts, you may need to invest in some clean-up time:
- Pictures that show a non-professional side of you. Remember, it’s ok for you to show personality, but you may want to have the drunken, scandalous pictures hidden or deleted. Employees want fun, unique individuals; they just want responsible ones as well.
- Comments posted by friends that are obnoxious and insulting. Again, delete or hide these photos or comments. They are clearly in poor taste and are probably not something you want shown as a lasting memory.
- Insulting material in general that would be offensive to a stranger…or potential employer.
Facebook allows filters to help maintain privacy, but they have definitely become more lax the more popular that Facebook becomes. At one point you could hide all mobile uploads by clicking on one setting. Now, Facebook requires you to change the privacy requirements per picture for mobile uploads. Again, most of us do not have time to worry about tracking every picture and this privacy rule becomes quickly forgotten. There is a setting that allows you to view yourself from the public eye. I highly suggest you take the time to discover it, as you might be quite surprised at what you see!
Social media sources can accelerate your chances of being noticed in the professional world and the following are just a few out there:
- Twitter is an excellent source to directly connect with employers. You can sign up for Twitter and link your account to your other social media sites to give recruiters more information about yourself. Again, just keep in mind what is on those other profiles. You want to be impressive on this site in order to stand out from the other potential job seekers within your field of interest.
- LinkedIn provides an excellent opportunity for you to post all of your professional information, as well as receive professional endorsements from those who have worked with you in prior positions. This is quickly becoming a personal resume database and a first point of contact for recruiters.
- Blogs are another great spotlight to showcase your creative energy and to be noticed by recruiters. Usually blogs reflect personality, opinions, creativeness, and personal energy. I would suggest that if your blog is going to be public, be aware that this means you have a public audience and with that comes the opportunity of critiquing. Only post what you are willing to defend, but again, hold true to your personal thoughts, as this is what makes you unique.
The main point in all of this is if you are searching for a job, or in the running for an upcoming promotion, ensure that your personal social media information is also professional. The web is an open book when it comes to recruiters or employers researching personal information, and all is fair game. If you post it, that information belongs to “someone” and if you don’t want the public viewing such material, you need to make certain that your privacy settings are set to reflect protecting your personal image.
Do you have provocative photos out there for everyone to see? Do you post all day long when you should be working? It might be time for a profile overhaul to clean-up your professionalism. This may seem like a pain, but by taking a few hours to do so, it might just get you that promotion or job you applied for!