Social Media and Your Career

How is social media working for you in your career? Is it help? A hindrance? Or does it even make a difference? Like it or not, social media is part of our world today and it impacts nearly every part of our life.

First – Clean Up Your Act

Complete a search of your name on Google and see what pops up. If you have a very common name, like David Hall, you will likely find an overload of unrelated information. If your name is less common, like Jessica Touchard, your search should populate relevant information about you. You may want to set up a Google Alert with the different variations of your name and your business name to stay up to date on what is out there on the internet.

If you haven’t already, you will want to create a LinkedIn account. The search engines index everything on the internet, so your social media should also show up in search queries.

You should also be careful about what you post. Even if you delete it, the internet saves a copy of everything you have done online. This includes what you have liked, shared, and commented on. You will also want to check your privacy settings on Facebook and limit the scope of some of your posts to friends and family.

Common Social Media Tools

LinkedIn, with over 500 million current users, is considered the top spot for people looking for work. This social media platform has morphed from a place to post your resume to a place to connect with people in your industry, recruiters, potential referral partners, and clients. LinkedIn provides job seekers and hiring managers with the most professional networking tools.

Make sure you are engaging in these activities on LinkedIn:

Research companies and hiring managers – name, relevant updates, location

  • Join professional groups and chime in on the conversations
  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile includes: Resume, Work Samples, Endorsements
  • Use LinkedIn as extra space – provide a link on your resume to your LinkedIn profile so potential employers can get a more complete picture of your accomplishments and skills
  • Reach out to first, second, and third-degree connections for information, advice, and introductions to hiring managers or potential candidates
  • LinkedIn allows you to select “open to new opportunities” as a way to let potential employers and recruiters know you are in the job market. This is under the radar for the most part.
  • Don’t forget to search for job postings on LinkedIn and apply!

Facebook, though primarily a social network continues to become a one-stop shop for connecting with people – from friends and family, to colleagues, coworkers, and clients. You never know who in your network is able to help you, so be sure to leverage this platform as you advance your career. With 2.19 billion monthly users, it seems most of the world is on Facebook.

During your job search:

  • Join groups of people with common interests and network with them.
  • Use Facebook lists to separate your personal and professional connections.
  • Use private messaging to communicate with relevant people within your network.

Twitter, averaging 336 million active users, is a bit different for a social network. It can be very interactive and you can connect with and follow literally anyone on the planet with a Twitter profile (Professional connections, friends, the President, or one of the Real Housewives!). Job seekers can connect with people that they know and communicate with groups of individuals through “circles” of contacts. Those networks can be tapped for referrals professionals who might share information, advice, and job leads. “Circles” are similar to the discussion groups that exist on LinkedIn and Facebook. While Twitter might not be the social platform that first comes to mind for job seekers, 92% of companies are using social media for hiring, and we’re not just talking about hiring managers checking up on applicants’ social profiles.

Here are some tips for Twitter:

  • Join industry chats on Twitter by searching for topics that interest you.
  • These are specific topics, at specific times with moderators
  • Twitter Chat Schedule
  • Finding better content – group together people and have all of their tweets come in a separate feed.
  • Using Twitter Lists – Create a list, add people by clicking on them and then “add to list”
  • Keeping up with them can be the hard part, using an app such as tweet deck or bookmarking can help.

How to Best Present Yourself Online

As they say, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression” and that is potentially even more true on social media. For your professional Twitter feed and your LinkedIn profile, make sure you have a professional headshot. Leave the fun and family profile pictures for Facebook.

LinkedIn and Twitter also give you the opportunity to put out a headline as a bit of a tagline for your personal brand. Be sure to answer these three questions in your headline:

  • What do you do?
  • Who do you help?
  • What problem do you solve?

LinkedIn gives you space to add a personal summary as well. Be sure your summary answers these key questions:

  • Who are you?
  • Who do you help/serve?
  • What do you do?
  • What makes you different?
  • Why should people connect with you?

Be Aware of the Pitfalls

If you are currently employed, be aware of what you are doing on social media. We can’t emphasize this enough. Anything you like, share or comment on is visible to your entire network on LinkedIn, those you choose to allow to see it on Facebook, and the entire universe on Twitter. Don’t forget about co-workers who you are connected with and what they may report back to your current employer.

Too much information can “poison the well.” Employers will scan social networks to get additional information on potential hires. Even with privacy settings in place, there is software that can get around that so don’t post anything which may paint you in an unflattering light.

Lastly, social media is just a tool and it is not the only one. Getting out from behind the computer and connecting with people in person or on the phone is perhaps the most valuable tool.
Let us know how we can help you in advancing your career!