If you’re looking for a job, it’s worth spending some time thinking about the way you put yourself across to prospective employers. Your CV and covering letter already convey the ‘professional you’, because they highlight your achievements and skills within the workplace, but nowadays employers look in additional places for information.
More and more companies are searching for applicants on the internet to see how they present themselves through popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. If you have profiles on these sites, it is important to make sure that there is nothing posted on them that you wouldn't want an employer to see. Here are some tips to help you make sure that you look just as good online as you do on your application form.
- Think about what you want to achieve with your professional online presence - who are you communicating to, and what do you want to gain? Once you know the answers to these questions you then need to consider which of these sites is best to help you with your goals. Choose a platform that you have a good understanding of and that you will be able to keep updated regularly. If you have a smartphone, you could consider at downloading an app for the site so that you can use it on the go.
- Not all of your social media has to be used for business – it’s perfectly fine to have a personal account to interact with your friends and family. However, if you choose to make this divide, check every now and then to ensure that material you are happy for anybody to see is being kept separate from information that you want to keep private.
- All of the social media websites have privacy policies, but they do vary, so it’s helpful to have a read of the policies for each social network and decide what will work best for you. On Twitter, you can protect your Tweets, and choose which ones to make public or private. It is even beneficial to consider your privacy on more professional platforms – think about how much of your activity on LinkedIn you want made available to the public, for example, and adjust the settings accordingly
- Similarly, remember all of these networks can interact with each other, and your LinkedIn contacts may not be interested in your latest Tweets or status updates. Make sure that if you are connecting these sites, the information you post is consistent with your professional image.
- Once you have a good social media system in place, websites like Facebook and Twitter can be really helpful when it comes when presenting yourself, and furthering your knowledge of your industry. Tweet your way to the top by engaging in conversations with industry leaders. Follow the latest news stories using Google Reader and post relevant updates to your accounts or a relevant blog. Prospective employers may be impressed by your online expertise, and it could help you stand out amongst other applicants.
Ultimately, social media can be a really handy tool to advance your career. With a professional online presence you can make a great impression and show employers why they should hire you.