Protecting your personal brand on social media

With social media coming to play a growing role in personal and working life, professionals need to understand how it can impact their career and efforts to find a new job.

More than half of employers research potential employees on social media before making a job offer, and this may even impact their decision to interview a candidate.

So, how can you make the most of social media in developing your career while avoiding your online presence negatively impacting your job search?

Twitter

With the exception of professionals working in marketing or communications, Twitter is usually considered more appropriate for personal use.

When looking for digital marketers and communications professionals, employers may expect an active presence on Twitter. Engaging in online discussions relevant to your field is a great way to demonstrate your understanding of social media and showcase skills that can be applied to a marketing role.

If you do work in a sector where having a Twitter presence can be an important selling point, you can still choose to hide who you follow and who follows you from others by creating private lists. This will allow employers to view your Twitter feed without divulging information about who is connected to you.

If you don’t work in a digital marketing or communications role, your Twitter presence may be solely for personal use. In this case protecting your account may be important. You may want to take advantage of the privacy settings to hide personal information from the public on the platform including your tweets, tweets you’re tagged in, people you follow, and people who follow you.

Even with a private profile, employers will be able to see details you provide about yourself in your bio area however. Avoid putting any inappropriate content in this section – remove any information you wouldn’t want an employer to know.

Following these simple steps can reduce the odds of you making a negative impression on an employer before you have even had a chance to reach an interview.

Facebook

The majority of employers (70%) believe that Facebook should be used for personal interaction only, and is not a suitable professional networking tool.

Making your Facebook page inaccessible to anyone outside your social circle is a sensible precaution. Some key steps to making sure you’ve kept your profile private are:

  • Stay up to date on Facebook’s privacy settings
  • Remove your Facebook page from Google searches
  • Know what others can see on your page
  • Make sure to keep your photographs, posts and tags hidden

If you do decide to keep your profile public, assume that anything you post will be seen by a potential employer, and choose what appears on your timeline accordingly. There have been a number of cases where people have lost their jobs based on comments they have made via Facebook.

After you have secured a job, do not use Facebook as a space to air your grievances about your role. If there is something bothering you speak to your manager about the issue to help resolve it.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the most widely used online professional networking platform. It has become the default social network for professionals as a space for to engage with others in your field, discuss topics relating to your industry and build your online reputation.

Many employers will review your LinkedIn profile to get a snapshot of your professional background before deciding whether or not to invite you to interview.

At the very least, you should ensure that your LinkedIn profile is fully completed and up to date, including your education and job history.

Make sure that your profile highlights key responsibilities and accomplishments in your career that will grab the attention of an employer and help you stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn is also an important platform to discuss developments and trends in your industry with other professionals. Joining groups and being an active commenter can help show to employers that you are engaged with your industry.

Make use of the ability to get recommendations and endorsements from colleagues or previous employers as well. This can help employers make a decision about inviting you to interview by allowing them to see what others perceive your strengths to be.

We know that the majority of hiring managers view the LinkedIn profiles of potential employees as part of the hiring process. Use your LinkedIn profile to demonstrate your proactive approach and give you an edge over other candidates.

 

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