Online technology has not just become a part of the workplace; it has transformed the workplace entirely. Coworkers share their work using DropBox, bosses schedule meetings using their shared Google calendar, and conference calls are conducted over Facetime. However, for job seekers, the internet can become as much of a trap as it is a resource. Navigating the world wide web may seem like a daunting task, especially when it comes to finding a balance between managing one’s personal and public online identities. One of the most intimidating parts of the modern online work lifestyle lies in the realm of social media. Considering 93% of recruiters use or plan to use social media to aid in the hiring process, those looking for jobs need to make sure they know some dos and don’ts of the online world in order to make sure they are helped and not hindered by the online technology of today. Below are social media do's and don't for job seekers.
DO post as if everything can be seen by everyone.
Even if your Twitter account is set to private and you’re sure your Facebook security settings prevent unwanteds from viewing your posts, it’s better to be safe than sorry. In today’s world, your online self is an extension of your offline self. Your personal profile is an extension of your public profile. If you don’t want a boss, a friend, or a future employer to see a post, don’t take the risk. Keep your online identity positive rather than provocative.
DON’T create a bad first impression online.
Words and photos can easily be misconstrued out of context, so make sure to analyze before posting. If you have to think to yourself “If someone who hasn’t met me yet saw this photo, would they have a negative first impression of me?” then ask yourself if the picture is really worth posting. Additionally, vigorously posting about politics, social issues, or personal issues may cause profile viewers to form initial judgments, misguided or not. While your opinions are important to your identity, is your outspoken “Twitter rant” about your former boss worth jeopardizing your future career?
DO use LinkedIn to the fullest.
LinkedIn is arguably the most important site for networking and recruiting in the modern business world. The site is used by people of varying employment levels, including everything from recent grads to big business founders, so make sure your profile stays up to date. Make sure to mention all past work experience, emphasize your skills, and keep your page looking professional. Connect to as many Groups as you deem appropriate. Post positively and reflectively, making sure your presence on the site is demonstrative of who you are. Most importantly, use the networking ability of the site to make real, interpersonal relationships with those you connect with.
DON’T let your LinkedIn detract from who you are.
While sites like LinkedIn are meant to showcase your best qualities, it is easy to turn people off by simply using the site poorly. People quickly will judge you based on your online profile, so try to follow online etiquette guidelines. Don’t lie or embellish on your profile. Make sure not to over-post or spam your connections. Never criticize or negatively post in Groups. Don’t estrange connections by being generic and impersonal. The site exists to showcase your strengths, yet by making LinkedIn mistakes, you can create new weaknesses.
DO let your social media profiles become marketing tools for your personal brand.
Consistency is key: keeping information and photos up to date and accurate across all of your social media sites can help market yourself to employers. By emphasizing who you are, what you do, and what you want, it is easy for recruiters to see if you’re a promising potential hire. It also helps you as the searcher understand who you are trying to target with your own personal promotion. Use resources to help make your personal brand stand out and impress those who look at your page.
DON’T become a self-marketing machine.
Bragging online is just as bad as bragging in person. If your pages become overwhelmingly self-promotional, they become a deterrent. The beauty of social media is that it allows you to connect with others, so involve your audience; if they feel included in what you say, they’ll actually want to see what you post. Additionally, if your posting is mechanical, scripted, or unnatural, it may seem like you exhibit those undesirable traits in real life. Do not let your positive personality traits be covered by impersonal and unrealistic social media behavior.
DO use social media as the beginning point, not the end goal.
Nothing, not even a direct message, can replace a face-to-face, personal conversation. By properly putting yourself out there online, you expose yourself to an internet full of people. Let these online connections propel you to make offline connections. Social media should be used as a helpful tool in sparking real-world relationships.