Social media platforms allow us to broadcast our lives for everyone to see… and that includes your new boss.
Whether we like it or not our online profiles have become a second CV, and with 60 per cent of employers now checking out potential candidates online before hiring, it’s more important than ever to put your most professional foot forward online.
Whether you’re looking to take that next step up the career ladder or want to make a good impression in your current role, Richard Mavers, director of group marketing and online strategy at Envirofone, has some advice on how best to present yourself from your phone, without hurting your career prospects.
Go easy on the selfies
First impressions count, and it’s easy to assume that showcasing your best self(ie) on LinkedIn will impress potential bosses. However, recent research by Envirofone revealed that job candidates who use selfies on professional networking sites don’t go down well with employers, with 88% rating them as ‘unprofessional’ and 58% saying they wouldn’t hire someone who had a selfie on their LinkedIn profile.
However not all selfies are created equal. While a professional headshot is always advisable where possible, a selfie where you are dressed professionally is a good alternative, with 66% of respondents rating this as an acceptable option for a LinkedIn profile.
Keep it employer friendly
While we have the freedom to use social media to voice our thoughts and opinions, it is wise to bear in mind that anyone can see these posts – including your potential new boss.
It’s now common practice for employers and hiring managers to use social media to screen candidates’ Tweets and Facebook posts to see if they would be a good cultural fit within the company. Previous research2 has shown that posts about drug use, discriminatory remarks, and bad mouthing previous employers and colleagues, have resulted in otherwise ideal candidates being turned down for a job.
To prevent harming your potential career prospects, an option is to create two different Twitter profiles – one for your professional life, and one for your private life. You can also make your Facebook profile completely private in your settings, to prevent any mishaps! However, the best way to prevent damaging your career is to not post anything which you wouldn’t want your boss to see.
Use social to your advantage
Although social media can be a hindrance when applying for a job, don’t underestimate its power to help you climb the career ladder.
Employers and hiring managers have admitted that they are less likely to hire candidates with little information about them available, so it’s best to keep all your online profiles up to date – whether you’re currently searching for a job or not. Employers will not only use these platforms to check all your background information (e.g. previous employer and education) is correct, but to also see if you have good communication skills and a wide range of interests.
Both LinkedIn and Twitter are a great way to make connections with potential employers, recruiters and like-minded people in your industry. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, it is a great site to build contacts, who may prove useful when seeking future opportunities – you never know where they might lead!
Don’t take your foot off the gas
Once you have got the job it is easy to slip into old social media habits. However, it is always important to bear in mind that what you say on social media may reflect on the values of the company you work for.
Employers regularly check on their employee’s social media activity, and have admitted to reprimanding and even firing people as a result of inappropriate social media activity2.
Social media can be an obstacle when initially job seeking, but with a little fine tuning you can use it to your advantage at every job level.