It’s no secret that now, more than ever before, employers are investigating candidates’ social media accounts and activity. They use these platforms to gauge a candidate’s personality, character, and professional activities. It is important to have a healthy use of at least one of these platforms, and to present the best version of yourself there–when it comes to professional matters as well as personal ones. Our lives have become increasingly public in the digital age, and for better or for worse, we all indirectly sell our personal brand via social media. Your presence online is even more important when you are looking for a new role, as the magnifying glass will frequently be on your accounts.
Here are some of our tips for leveraging your social media accounts to gain an advantage in your job search:
1. Know your platforms. Make sure you have an active account on at least one of the most-used social media platforms. As of the time of writing, these include LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Obviously, for professional purposes, LinkedIn is the gold standard. Facebook is interesting in that you can use it for both a personal account and a professional page. Setting up a professional page can be especially helpful if you do a lot of contract or freelance work or if you are in a creative field. Instagram and Twitter are the same in that you can choose to post personal content, professional content, or a combination of both. Get clear on what you would like to use each account for, and, if you can keep up with it, it may be helpful to set up both a personal and professional account on some platforms. Use your own judgment here.
2. Know what not to post. A lot of this should be common sense. You should not have inappropriate photos or offensive material on any of your platforms, because, believe me, it will be found. Beyond this, however, you want to also avoid making posts that show you are poor at writing, those containing controversial or argumentative content, and of course gossip. You don’t want to air dirty laundry about past employers or work situations. Keep it PG and positive!
3. Know what you should post. Now we get into what you should use to fill out your accounts. While it will vary depending on the platform, your personal content should be clean (again, keep it PG), positive, and show your enthusiasm for your profession and other pursuits. For LinkedIn, make sure your professional information is clearly organized, and update it whenever appropriate. Make sure you also include your skills and outside interests there, and don’t be shy about asking contacts to endorse your skills. For Facebook and other platforms, stick with positive content and post regularly, especially if you are including professional content. If you have an account that shows your superior work ethic and a slew of accomplishments, but it hasn’t been updated in three years, hiring managers will wonder what happened. It’s not a great message to send.
4. Engage with others in your field. Reach out to people at your organization on social media and add them as friends, “like” and comment on their content, and invite them to do the same for yours. Find people in your field whose work or leadership you admire and follow and like their content. You can even reach out to them in a professional way to make direct contact–hey, it doesn’t hurt to try! There is never anything to lose in putting yourself out there in a genuine and professional way. Who knows? They may take notice and engage in a conversation that could open new doors for you.
I hope these tips will help you use social media to your advantage when searching for your next role. Have you found other things that are helpful in using social media for this purpose? Share with us in the comments, and make sure you subscribe for more helpful content, published each week.