In today’s digital era social media is now an integral part to job searching. LinkedIn is great for expanding your network and build your personal brand, or less obvious choices such as Instagram and Twitter which can be used to keep up with the company activities and gain insight to their culture.
However, some job seekers fail to realise that potential employers are also aware of the impact of social media, and will often search out their candidates during the interview process. Although most candidates are usually sensible enough not to go bad-mouthing current employers or colleagues online, there are some less obvious ways that how your online brand impacts your job search.
Follow these simple steps to help your online profile demonstrate your potential:
Keep your social profiles up-to-date and relevant
Let’s start with the basic requirements. Is your profile picture the most recent and professional-looking choice you have? You might look great on your snowboard, but LinkedIn doesn’t need to see that! How about your contact details and current job title? Many employers contact potential candidates directly on social now, so without this information, you will potentially lose out on an opportunity.
Make sure you align your CV and online profile
More and more candidates are being whittled out of shortlists because of discrepancies that show up between their social media accounts and CVs. This is particularly common surrounding employment dates! Your online presence – particularly LinkedIn – must mirror what’s in your CV. Even if the discrepancy is a genuine mistake rather than covering something up, it could indicate a poor attention to detail. It is best to be honest on all fronts – even with things like time out or a career break.
Think twice about potentially inappropriate content
While privacy settings have come a long way, it’s still best to assume that anything you post online is accessible by a savvy hiring manager. In short, what you don’t post cannot be found.
Here’s a real example: I recently heard about a candidate who had a director-level role offer withdrawn when the employer read scathing posts she’d made after receiving poor service from an organisation. The candidate had used swear words and even captured and posted screen shots of the conversations! This behavior raised both legal and privacy issues, as well as serious concerns around their approach to conflict and communication.
Social media, when considering your employment profile, should almost always be positive – or at the very least, constructive. Instagram is great to show your passion for your sector or industry and related interests. Twitter can help you demonstrate your interests and expertise, and tweeting about webinars and events you attend is a great snapshot into your approach to development. Of course, LinkedIn is king here, and by joining relevant groups, posting frequently and updating your profile regularly, you’re sure to stay on track.
Do you post during business hours?
Any hiring manager worth their salt will be fully aware of your current employment circumstances. So any social content you create during office hours should be work-related, else you risk looking like your productivity has dropped and you’ve lost your focus.
Timing your invitations
Checking out your potential employers is a great part of your research process. However, there is a difference between research prior to an interview and coming across as a pushy candidate. Sending a connection request before you are offered the job can make you seem presumptuous and overly familiar. If you succeed in getting the job, then by all means connect on professional profiles such as LinkedIn. But until then, stick to professional email correspondence (ideally through your recruiter, but this can vary depending their methods).
So when the time comes for your next job search, make sure social media is your friend, not your foe. Used well it can support your brand tremendously, but the risks around poor choices are high indeed.
If you are looking for support with your employment needs please contact your local office.