Look Sharp on Social Media
According to Forbes, half of all job seekers use social networking sites daily. Meanwhile, a study by CareerBuilder.com found that while 43% of organizations use these sites in their hiring process, 51% of employers have discovered content on social media sites that played a role in not hiring a candidate. If you’re not already aware that what you post on social media can affect your professional image and career opportunities, these stats should be a wake-up call. All too often, people don’t realize how what they’ve shared about themselves online has hindered their career advancement—and their livelihood. Be proactive about protecting your brand and reputation by carefully considering what you post. Don’t let your guard down and get careless, or it could undermine your image as well as your odds for a future career opportunity. Make social media your friend, not your foe.
Here are some ways you can sharpen and protect your social media image:
Build a professional profile. Whether you’re using Google, LinkedIn or another social media site, make sure your professional profile provides all the basic information that other professionals, particularly potential employers, would want to know. After you’ve written your profile, read it, making sure there are no typos and grammar errors that could indicate that you’re either incompetent or careless. As well, make sure the picture you post casts you in a favorable light and is appropriate for the audience viewing it. Sure, maybe you look fabulous in that vacation photo in which you are drinking a Mai Tai on the beach. But most potential employers want to see how you present yourself on the job, not when you’re off the clock, chillin’ by the pool. They also appreciate seeing your smile. A photo of you with a sincere smile versus some serious, straight-lined expression simply gives a positive, more inviting impression.
Post only what’s appropriate. Whenever you go to write something or upload a picture, use sound judgment and only post information that conveys professionalism and commitment to your career. If you are posting something you would never say or communicate at the office or to someone in your professional setting, that’s a sure sign you shouldn’t post it online, particularly on a social media site for professionals. Here are some examples of what not to post:
- Inappropriate photos, including any that don’t support your professional goals
- Inappropriate comments, including bad language
- Criticism of a previous employer
- Discriminatory statements
- False information on qualifications
- Confidential information
Participate in value-added activities. Part of the advantage of social media sites is the opportunity that comes with connecting, then networking with others. While connecting initiates the relationship, it’s the networking online that transforms that relationship into something meaningful. It enables you to participate more in what builds value for your business or professional goals. Moreover, it doesn’t require a ton of time. Simply taking 10 minutes a day to contribute to a professional group or post meaningfully in response to a connection’s comment can elevate your professional credibility. And that can give you an advantage among the masses of social media silent types sitting unengaged on the sidelines of this professional networking realm.
What are some social media guidelines that you use in your company?