Is Social Media Hurting or Helping Your Job Search?
What did you share on your social media channels today? Did you Instagram a snap of your lunch or did you tag ten Facebook friends in a meme about how much you hate Mondays? Employers are no longer limited to what you tell them on your resume or in the interview. Instead, they are finding out much more about potential employees by looking at their social media postings. From your vacation photos to the silly cat video you shared, what is your social media content telling potential employers.
Social media can actually help your employment search
You might have expected us to lead with some advice about turning up your privacy settings and never posting anything personal. Well then, you might be in for a surprise.
Job seekers should have an active, well-managed social media presence.
A strong social media presence is an excellent way to build and reinforce your personal brand. It is an opportunity to showcase yourself as a professional industry expert with ample networking and communications skills.
So, how to you create that personal brand?
Start by simply filling in all the blanks. Way back when you set up your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts, you were probably so excited to starting friending and liking and poking that you skipped all the “boring” profile information. Circle back and make your location, education and employment information public. Even if the rest of your profile is private, it adds weight to what your resume says tells potential employers that you aren’t hiding anything.
From there, start sharing meaningful content with these rules in mind.
- Share a mix of personal and professional content. It shows that you can manage work-life balance and value both.
- Grow your professional network by following industry leaders and experts as well as local leaders and influencers.
- Share, link and retweet relevant and insightful articles related to your field
- Share success stories and positive updates from your current employer or other professionals. Whether they received an award or launched a new product, sharing shows that you are a team player.
- Carefully edit every post for grammar, spelling and content.
Social Media can also hurt your job search
Not having a social media presence can be a red flag for potential employers, but that isn’t a green light to post any and every thing.
The key to creating your personal brand is understanding the difference between broadcasting and curating.
The broadcasting approach to social media means sharing every nitty-gritty detail of your life, from what had for dinner to the tantrum your child threw in the parking lot to the party you went to last weekend. It might be complete and honest, but it also might not be enhancing your brand.
Instead, curate what you share online by carefully selecting the best, most important pieces to share. A curated social media presence is still you, it’s just polished to showcase you in the best light.
While you are curating your social media presence, there are some things that you should never post. These are the big “don’ts” that every employer is checking for.
- Photos that contain alcohol, drug use or provocative clothing
- Derogatory comments regarding past or current employers, supervisors or co-workers
- Discriminatory comments related to race, religion, gender, appearance or physical or mental disability.
- Strong political opinions
So, what is your social media presence saying about you? Are you hiding? Is your personal brand on target? Or, are all those quick cooking videos you share overshadowing your professional talents?