Popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, share pictures, organise events and even keep up-to-date with current affairs. However, with social media now widely accessible it is increasingly important for job seekers to be more educated and aware of the serious impact of their thoughts, photos and activity on social media, and the affect it can have on their professional image. Recruiters are increasingly using these websites to check on applicants, according to one recruiter “it is only a matter of time until it’s widely accepted that online social behaviour will be as critical as professional experience”.
Here are a few tips on how to successfully manage your online reputation:
- Make use of privacy settings – The settings on Facebook allow you to choose who can see particular statuses and photos/videos, depending on whether you want them to appear to friends, friends of friends or to be completely public. You can, therefore, control which aspects of your profile a recruiter can see.
- Separate your personal and professional presence – One option could be to use different social networking sites for separate areas of you life, for example, use LinkedIn for your professional profile whilst making your Twitter and Facebook pages private, allowing you to share personal information and opinions.
- Blogs – Don’t forget things like blogs, forum posts and applications such as YouTube. If you have posted comments under your real name they could show up in a search, make sure any inappropriate posts or comments are removed.
- Email & voicemail – Make sure you have a suitable contact email address on your CV, recruiters and employers will not be impressed by addresses like ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ and ensure that your voicemail message sounds professional.
- Connect with employers – Social networking is not just there to catch you out; many employers and recruiters post on social networks and try to engage with job seekers, particularly graduates. They can allow you to find out more about the organisation and are an excellent opportunity to network with potential employers.
- Sell yourself – Many recruiters are increasingly using the professional networking site LinkedIn to source candidates, make sure you have a LinkedIn page that highlights your education, experience and skills in order to attract recruiters and enhance your professional image.
The web is undoubtedly a valuable resource, but always remember it is a public arena and what you did or said a few years ago can come back to haunt you. Make the internet work for you by following these simple steps and it will be a help, not a hindrance when it comes to finding your perfect career.