One man’s (or woman’s) party story is another’s cautionary tale. It’s no secret that employers “creep” your social media profiles. But don’t delude yourself: they’re not worried your antics are going to go viral, or you’ll be “that girl” (or “that guy”) on YouTube. What’s it to them? They just won’t hire you. Hiring managers glance – and I mean glance – at your posts, comments, likes, and tweets – to gauge your judgment, sociability, technological abilities, and even your spelling and grammar. It’s a tough job market out there; and you’ve got a few seconds to stand out. In a good way. How’re you going to do it?
KEEP IT CLEAN
If you’re new to the job market, you need to make one task your top priority: cleaning up your social media. Now is the time to delete all party pictures, to remove inappropriate content, and to unfriend or unfollow anyone who is potentially unsavoury. They’ll understand. Or they won’t notice. It’s fine. A good rule to follow: if Grandma would be offended (assuming Grandma’s not trending herself), do not include it on your pages. And, for the love of all that is employable, adjust your privacy settings.
“But Paul, I really like posting pictures of myself in compromising situations and saying rude, borderline offensive things. Let me take a selfie. Is there any way I can do this without risking a job?” I don’t know. No. But if you must have a social media outlet that is not strictly professional, consider using a pseudonym for your personal page. That way, your professional profiles remain accessible to employers.
Employees Lacking Motivation?Paul Marchildon, an experienced Leisureologist, can work with you and your team to increase productivity by incorporating leisure into the workplace.
You can’t hide from employers on social media or delete your profiles altogether: an apparent lack of use or knowledge of this massive industry not only reflects poorly on you, but it might cost you an interview. Employers may be more likely to call the candidates they have pre-screened on social media than those who are unsearchable. Dan Schwabel of Time adds that without Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, “you won’t seem as relevant and companies might think that you’re hiding something.”
One of the foundations of leisureology is enjoying your work and bringing fun with you on the job. Obviously, you need to be able to enjoy yourself off the job as well. Self-censoring your social media profiles isn’t about limiting your afterhours activities or denying who you are: it’s about understanding that, while everything you post may not be a reflection of your capabilities or aptitude for a position, social media is the window through which potential employers are looking.
KEEP IT CONSISTENT
Managing your personal brand is the online method of managing your reputation. Go for usernames that are consistent and available across all platforms. If your full name is already taken on Twitter or as a URL, consider adding your middle name or initials.
Once your accounts are streamlined and connected (i.e. your personal webpage links to your Facebook, your Twitter links to your YouTube channel, etc.) ensure that the content and messaging is consistent on all fronts. If your LinkedIn profile says you are a Freelance Website Developer, for instance, your Twitter should not say that you are still working as a server. (Which is fine, if you are. But if you’re shooting for Website Developer, that’s the image you want to present.)
Consistent messaging promotes the idea that you are honest, organized, and focused, rather than all over the map. Showcase your unique expertise and tailor your content to the industries, people, and employers whose notice you want. That way, when you land a position, it will be a good fit for your skills and personality. Employee motivation is key to organizations today; when you demonstrate you want to be there and have put in the work to make it happen, you’re going to be ahead of the game.
KEEP IT OLD SCHOOL TOO
Though social media is more important than ever before, those new to the workforce still need a solid resume, blistering cover letters, the ability to network, and strong interview skills. Few –if any – employers will simply hand you a job just because your Instagram photos are beautiful. They are, by the way; I checked. You’ve got to impress on social media – and then prove you’ve got the traditional knowledge of the career world too.
A strong resume and cover letter still go a long way in today’s job hunt, but they are not easy to master. Use all available resources to ensure that they are maximizing your assets: the internet, provincial employment counselors, and university career centers all offer free expertise in these areas.
It’s a little late in the game to claim to be “mystified” by privacy settings, LinkedIn connections, or the idea that one tweet can make or break your credibility. You know this. Keep your social media professional, truthful, up-to-date, and consistent across all platforms. If you do this, you won’t not get hired by potential employers. And if you pair it with traditional mediums – a knockout resume and cover letter, great interview, and sparkling personality – you can be a standout.