With social media activity at an all time high, it is more important than ever to be conscious of your personal brand, the digital image of yourself that you create which is visible to the wider world.
Employers have long relied on references, referrals and the short 60 minutes they have face to face to get to know a future employee. Now the game is changing, and employers doing a background check on candidate’s social media presence is standard practice.
If you’re embarking on a job search, it’s always a good idea to make your personal profiles a private as their settings allow – unless you don’t mind your interviewer bringing up your holiday photos from a boat party in Ibiza 2016. Locking your Instagram account and having a quick check through Facebook’s privacy settings will take you two minutes and could save you a whole lot of embarrassment.
Similarly, be wary of what you tweet from a public account and consider using a service to delete old tweets. Last year I had a client call me to cancel an interview because they’d searched for a candidate and found that they had posted tweets criticising their current employer – understandably they didn’t want to risk taking on someone who would then tarnish their public image.
The next potential minefield is Public profiles such as good old LinkedIn. 90% of candidates/clients I have dealings with are on the professional platform. I do a quick LinkedIn search on everyone I speak with and most employers do too. It’s an instantly available digital CV that advertises your skills so it’s vital to keep it accurate and up to date – and try not to make Facebook-style personal status updates, keep your presence on LinkedIn business focussed. So long as you play it safe and keep it simple, LinkedIn is a great way of marketing your skill set to recruiters and hiring manager alike.
Make sure your profile has a clear, professional photo, and include a short summary of your work experience and the companies you have worked for.
It’s about networking and building relationships, get involved. If you see a discussion relative to your skill set, jump in and comment. If an ex-colleague gets a promotion, congratulate them. It’s a great way of getting noticed and respected on the platform, and you never know which potential future employers could be reading your thoughtful contributions discussing topics they’re thinking about.
In summary, social media has come a long way in the last decade and is forever helping us stay in touch and communicate with the wider world. Just think about your personal brand, what values you want to communicate about who you are – and what might turn off a recruiter or interviewer. Use it as a tool to increase your chances of getting that dream role and enjoying your professional network.