In this “Creating a Social Media Presence Series,” we will cover a number of ways you can increase your online and social media presence.
With social media being as important in the job search as it is, it’s vital to make sure you have strong profiles. This leads to having a strong online presence and being a more impressive candidate. However, the main problem that arises is that social media is both a platform for sharing information with your friends as well as with your professional contacts. This can cause problems for your professional life since information that is available to both parties may get laughs from your friends, but frowns from potential employers.
There is one specific profile that people make this mistake on the most, and that’s the Facebook profile. This is the granddaddy of all social media sites and it isn’t going away anytime soon. If you are one of the 1 billion people who have profiles, chances are you have some photos you do not want your professional contacts to see. This is especially true of students and young graduates, but they can be damaging to the reputation you are trying to build through a positive online presence.
When recruiting, most sororities require the sisters of the house to take down their Facebook profiles and other social media profiles until rush is finished. While this is partly due to a self-imposed lockdown of the house, it is also so the recruits do not have any access to information about the house other than what the sisters tell them. Why? Because the sisters are trying to get new members and there may be information on those sites that would counter their efforts to sign pledges.
The same principle should be applied to the job search. If you have any information on your Facebook that you do not wish employers to see then you better take them down, turn your Facebook account off (it’s a well-kept secret but it is possible), or simply change your name so that when people look for John Doe they won’t find you. Change it back once your job search is over and your online presence isn’t as important anymore.
If you choose to make your profile a professional profile for the duration of your job search, then it’s going to require some maintenance. Take off anything you don’t wish employers to see (family photos are okay, the album titled Spring Break ’08 probably isn’t) and edit information to make you seem more professional. Wear dress clothes in your profile and fill out all employment history as well as educational history. Change your About Me and Likes from ‘Ice cream lover’ and ‘Snuggie’ to ‘Humanitarian’ and ‘Increase in Profits.’ Just make your online presence a professional one.
The final hurdle is making sure your friends do not ruin this façade you have created. Be vigilant about de-tagging yourself from dangerous photos and deleting inappropriate posts on your wall. Make sure that when you post on another wall that the comments on it are not crude or abrasive, no matter how funny they are. Maintaining a professional online profile is like maintaining a professional reputation in real life and therefore requires constant tending to. Maintenance is the key to a strong social media and online presence, which will definitely aid in your job search if done correctly.
Do you try to create a professional Facebook presence in your job search, or do you disable it until you find a job? Share with us in the comments section below!
IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Shane Pope