Before you post that picture of yourself doing body shots during your Cancun spring break, I would like to offer you some friendly advice on how potential employers might interpret your online behaviour.
You need to make sure that you are projecting the best possible image to future employers, in case anyone who’s thinking about hiring you takes a quick second to Google your name.
People will be assessing what you’ve posted to see if there are any photos, videos or all caps irrational ranting that raises a red flag about your judgment, awareness or intelligence.
A few common sense tips can ensure that you come across as employable:
1. Lock it down
The first and most important commandment of personal social media management is understanding who you are sharing your personal information with. Assume that anyone and everyone will see your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and act accordingly.
If you choose add your professional contacts to Facebook, you can either keeps thing PG or change your security settings to only allow certain posts to be visible to your professional network.
This involves a certain degree of common sense. Every industry is different in terms of their tolerance for your shenanigans via social media. For example, if you work at a creative start-up company, your boss’s views on your mid-workday posts of cat memes will be different than if you work at a Bay Street law firm. Investigate how your peers or colleagues are using social media, and follow their lead.
2. Think before you tweet…about how bad your job is
I’ve seen far too many catastrophes caused by careless tweets. We’ve all witnessed heat of the moment tweets about someone’s failing love life and epic drinking plans (please, spare us), but I especially urge caution when it comes to social posts about your job.
It only takes one tweet along the lines of “This job is **** and everyone here is a ****” to get you fired.
The same applies if you decide to resign. Take a moment to reflect on how rejoicing publicly about your departure from your current boss, job or co-workers could appear. Perhaps your boss is in fact an evil fascist, and maybe your co-workers do give new meaning to the word psycho, but griping about work is never a good idea. Regardless of the situation, it can make you look like a whiner and/or jerk.
3. Be truthful and consistent
Now that your social profiles (especially LinkedIn) are out there for anyone and everyone to see, you need to ensure you are telling a truthful, consistent story about yourself.
If your LinkedIn profile doesn’t match up to your resume, that will raise red flags and will quickly torpedo potential opportunities. Take the same care in putting together an online profile as you would your resume.
4. Ditch the cheesy Twitter handle
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen resumes and email signature blocks that feature outrageously inappropriate email addresses, blog URLs or Twitter handles. You should be showcasing the best possible image to potential employers and @lovemonkey1990 is sending all the wrong messages.
Sticking to your name is safest, but if you choose to use a nickname, make it something that wouldn’t make your Grandma blush.
5. Maintain your personality and use it to your professional advantage
While you might think I would advocate for being a passionless yuppie robot on your social media profiles, that’s not the case. Having a life outside of work makes you an interesting, well-rounded person, so maintain your unique qualities and pursuits in full view (as long as your pursuits are of the legal variety).
Remember to take the time to post updates about news and trends related to your industry. This will work to your advantage by showcasing your knowledge and interest in your field to potential employers.
Overall, it’s critical that you avoid sharing anything on social media that could give the impression that you lack judgment, are irresponsible or should potentially be thrown in an asylum. Everyone lets their hair down once in a while; just have the good sense not to post the evidence on Instagram.
Photo credit: Maryland GovPics