Social Media: How Does Your Profile Affect Your Job Prospects?
These days, it’s rare to find people without at least one social media account. Social media is a huge part of modern-day society, making it easy for us to offer others a glimpse into our everyday lives. It’s become an invaluable tool for meeting new people, staying in touch with family, and reconnecting with old friends. With a simple search, anyone can find your profile and get an inkling of who you are. Despite all the benefits of social media, it’s important to be mindful of what you share because it can have wide-reaching implications for your life in the real world.
Employers often scout social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn as they consider job applicants. So, it might be time to rethink your social media strategy, and if you have posted any potentially objectionable content on your profile(s), either delete it or set the account(s) to private.
As you prepare your cover letter, resume, and even your social media accounts, it’s a good idea to hire a professional resume writer and a career coach to help ensure everything is in order. You may have created a social media account for personal use, but it can prove an important factor in your career.
Here are some things you should keep in mind with regard to your social media profiles.
1. Your social media profile isn’t really private
Even when your profile is set to private, people can still see a portion of it. For example, even if you aren’t friends with someone on Facebook, you can still access some of the posts they’ve shared and even some of their photos. Be sure to manually set all posts you don’t want publicly available to private, and remove your tag from any photos you wouldn’t want an employer to see.
Your social media profile should be ready for evaluation by an employer. What exactly does that mean?
Your photos are appropriate
There’s nothing wrong with posting lots of pictures on social media, but make sure they are appropriate. If you tend to party and get wild on the weekends, keep that off social media. You may be having the time of your life on the beach, but posting your beach pictures may not be the best idea.
These are the types of pictures you want to avoid uploading on social media when you’re in pursuit of a new job. It’s okay to share them privately, but do ensure they really are private—simply not posting them is always the safest option. Also, keep a close eye on what photos you’re tagged in as your friends could inadvertently reveal your weekend party antics to a potential employer.
Your posts are respectful
Whether you’re writing or sharing a post, make sure what you’re saying is acceptable to a hiring manager. This means avoiding controversial topics that make you look like someone out to pick a fight. Instead, post content that is uplifting and motivating. It may also work in your favor to post things relating to your profession, which shows an employer that you’re actively looking for ways to advance your career. Basically, make sure all your public posts are palatable to a hiring manager.
Your positivity is obvious
Social media tends to be negative and depressing. In the midst of all the negativity, find ways to keep your profile upbeat. This shows the hiring manager you can maintain a positive attitude even when you’re surrounded by negativity. If you can display that kind of attitude on social media, imagine what you could do if you worked for their company—that’s what a hiring manager is apt to think.
2. Your social media friends may not be actual friends
The ever-expanding digital world has encouraged us to make friends with people we’ve never met in real life. That’s not necessarily a regrettable thing, but some of your social media friends or followers may not actually be your friends. They may take anything you say and twist it to make you look bad, so be careful who you allow into your social media circle.
Be cautious about friending co-workers
The workplace is a great environment for meeting new friends. You interact with your co-workers for about eight hours each day, so you may quickly become friends with them—but not all of them. Be selective in how involved you allow your co-workers or supervisors to be on your social media. For example, if they’re upset with you about something and looking for a bit of payback, they can just go on social media and find a way to undermine you.
It may be best to keep these friendships confined to the workplace—in that way, you don’t run the risk of your co-workers or supervisors using social media to put you out of a job. That’s not to say you should never pursue a deeper relationship with co-workers; it’s just that you should be cautious. Don’t let your colleagues into your private life unless there’s a high level of trust between you.
Be careful with what you say about your job
After coming home from a difficult day at work, the first thing you might want to do is vent on social media, but what would happen if your boss saw your scathing comments? If you’re constantly annoyed at work and have nothing good to say about your job, your employer might not want to keep you around. Be careful what you say about your job, not just on social media but in general.
Be confident in your statements
What you say on social media endures forever. You can never truly delete an awful post or an embarrassing picture. Before you upload something or comment on someone else’s post, decide whether it’s worth it. Too often, people speak before they think, and it blows up in their faces. Does your comment add real value? What’s your motivation behind posting it? Might you be feeling bitter and mean-spirited? Are you trying to show off? Think carefully before posting because even little things can prompt “friends” to rat on you to your boss.
3. Your social media should boost your reputation
Social media is a great place to show the world who you are. As people get a glimpse into your daily activities, they begin to see the person behind the profile picture. Many hide behind social media, using it to cope with all their insecurities, but you can also use it to showcase your talents and your true self.
Boost your personal reputation
Before you even consider your career, think about what kind of reputation you have among your friends. Are you considered kind, respectful, and loving, or are you that person who has everyone rolling their eyes whenever you post or comment on something? Make an effort to promote the image you want people to see. Once you begin using social media as a way to boost your personal reputation and show people your true self, you can move on to building up your professional reputation.
Boost your professional reputation
When people see you as authentic, they start listening to what you have to say and zero in on your content. This is where you can begin to boost your professional reputation. Social media is absolutely crucial in building a professional reputation. LinkedIn in particular focuses on professional development and allows you to connect with people in your field or your company. It also gives you a tremendous opportunity to share with potential employers information that couldn’t fit on your resume, which makes LinkedIn a must for any ambitious professional.
When it comes to personal social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, you can share posts related to your field or what you’re learning as a professional. However you go about it, make sure you use social media in a way that boosts your professional reputation with your current and future employers.
Social media is ideal for getting involved with what others are doing. It’s given us a perfect way to keep in touch with people we may have lost contact with if it weren’t for social media. However, don’t let it become a hindrance: Use it to advance your career and lay the foundation for future success. To determine whether your social media profiles present you as a competent professional, reach out to our career coaches for guidance.