One thing that can always be the Achilles heel of a good candidate can be social media. This has only come to light in the past few years since social networking sites such as Facebook came into existence and the main stage. How an individual appears on their CV and how they conduct themselves during an interview can be a very different side from them ‘with their hair down’, a side they wouldn’t want a future potential employer to see.
These few tips aim to help you maximize your use of social media and turn it from a potential pitfall into one of your strengths.
This should be the biggest largest concern to a candidate. This is where you want to be 100% sure what should be private is private. The first port of call for employers to check will most likely be Facebook, followed shortly by Twitter. Both of these platforms can have huge potential for backlash due to the quantity that can be published as public.
To protect yourself, go onto privacy settings and make as much as possible private and bear in mind what will remain public, such as profile pictures. To verify this has worked, you can select an option to view your profile as an individual who isn’t on your friend list. With regards to Twitter unless your profile is private every tweet, retweet & favourite will be visible to the public, most importantly regardless how old. The easiest method of fixing this would be making your profile private, failing that deleting old tweets and similar.
Be aware of the purposes of the different social networks and use them accordingly. For example, LinkedIn is a social networking site for professionals and should therefore be treated as such, so ensure you carefully consider the posts and articles you ‘comment on’ and ‘like’. With 347 million active users in 2015, LinkedIn is an excellent opportunity for networking and job seeking.
Ensure your profile picture is smart and professional, this lets potential employers put a face to the name of the applicant. Treat your LinkedIn Profile like your CV, keep it current and remember to update it after every change in your career, qualification/course taken or experience gained. Use every opportunity on your profile to sell yourself include skills and relevant interests.
The summary section of your LinkedIn profile is your elevator pitch, summing up your best features in a few sentences. One important section to remember is the ‘Professional Header’, this is the line directly under your name, which should include your current job and company, however if you are currently unemployed add the sentence ‘Currently seeking [Insert Job Title] role’. This section is the only other line, besides your name, visible on a list of search results making it explicit to recruiters that you are available.
To help improve your visibility in search engines be sure to create your custom URL address, this is found on the right hand side of your LinkedIn page, and can be anything, however it is best to have your full name.
Finally one of the most important factors which separates those who are successful on social media and those who are not is their activity, use it! The more active you are on social media the more chance there is of standing out from the crowd and being noticed. The simple act of liking something is shown on the feed of individuals you are connected with. If you have constructive comments or advice, share them. The more active you become on social media, the more you will be able to build an online reputation and become well known for your area of knowledge.
In conclusions the key to using social media as a candidate is to use it, but use it carefully. Make sure everything you want to be private, is private; that you remain professional; that all details are up to date, including profile picture; and finally participate across the networks.