Finding work used to be a lengthy process, but thanks to the meteoric rise of social media, people are finding and more effective ways of getting their resumes seen. If you are computer and Internet savvy, you will probably be registered with numerous social networking sites and these will often be combined or connected in someway – for this reason it is important that the information on each site corresponds with that on others and that any private or personal information you do not want employers to see is filtered out. Similarly, if you think social media is a fad – think again as it’s not going away any time soon. Let’s look at some of the sites and what you can do to optimise them…
• Professionalism is key! Your LinkedIn profile is an online CV that potentially thousands of people have access to. This means that you must consider this in the same way as you would a paper CV, observing the grammatical rules of spelling and punctuation, which must be spot on – and avoid ‘text-speak’ at all costs. Also make sure your profile is filled in completely – LinkedIn has a handy indicator telling you how complete your profile is.
• Your photo counts. Having a professional looking photograph of yourself on your profile is an important way of identifying you to your prospective employers. All social networking sites offer the option to upload a photo to your profile and it therefore fits to have one on LinkedIn as well – it’s also recommended to have the same photograph on each social networking platform that a potential employer might see for consistency and faster recognition.
• Claim a vanity URL. This is your personal web address that you can claim and set yourself on LinkedIn to avoid a heavy use of punctuation and other digits in your profile URL. Use your name where possible, or if it is already taken perhaps add an underscore or full stop. Avoid nicknames or online handles as they do not appear professional and might confuse people viewing your page.
• Everything is connected! Do not forget that a lot of your accounts are connected and based mostly on your name so it will be simple for a potential employer to go from your LinkedIn profile to your Facebook page with a simple search. This means that maintaining those personal/social pages is vitally important!
• Check your privacy settings. You are bound to have a few swear words and offensive remarks littered within your Facebook page, and even if they are in jest it can put off employers. Make sure your posts and tags are set on a strict privacy setting you can control, just in case one of your friend’s dirty jokes ends up on your wall!
• Have a semi-professional profile picture. Even though Facebook is a social medium more than a work-related one, it has gained popularity within the recruitment network and making sure you look the part in case anyone should happen to view your page is important, so try and use a well-taken and simple photo if you are looking for a job and be aware that potential employers may be searching!
• Be careful what you post! Twitter is a site dedicated to short bursts of a person’s personality and it can be an easy way to vent your opinions. It would be wise to change some privacy settings if you want to tweet anything of a negative or slightly angry nature.
• Funny photos might not be that funny. As with Facebook, it is important to think about how any pictures may be interpreted by your potential boss. We all have a laugh at bad pictures of us on nights out or celebrity memes, but it’s important to consider how these appear to anyone who may be looking at your profile with a possible work position in mind. It all comes down to making sure you filter your content using the various available privacy settings to appear as someone who is ready to enter the work arena.
• Who you follow says a lot about you. It may not seem like an important thing, but who you follow says a lot about who you are and gives people an idea of your personality. Think of people or things you enjoy that can be used as positive examples of yourself and tweet about them. This will give recruiters a quick idea of your sensibilities.
There have been numerous cases over the past few years where Facebook statuses and angry tweets have got scores of people in trouble at work, often with severe results! Social networking gives thousands of employers the opportunity to take a glimpse into your life and personality. They will often make a judgement based on the way you appear in your various profiles and it important to present yourself as well through this medium as you would in an interview. It has the potential of being one of the simplest and most effective ways of meeting recruiters and employers who can offer you the job you have been waiting for!