Like many of you, I learned of Charlotte Dawson’s death via social media. The days following have seen many stories about depression and the role social media can potentially play in these situations. This got me thinking about the role that social media plays in creating your online image during the recruitment process.
In the recruitment industry, it is common knowledge that Consultants will Google you, look at your social media presence – including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. This is not new and most hiring managers will do this at some stage in the process to gain a broader understanding of who you are and to do some fact checking. This begs the question – what does your social media profile say about you?
Are you presenting a positive and professional image consistently? Do you have a Facebook page? If you do, is it an open page? Are you even aware of your privacy settings and what the general public can see or not see? Are you “liking” controversial Facebook pages that could be a questionable culture fit for a new employer? Are you having heated debates on Twitter or posting contentious photos of your weekends out on the town?
If you are about to commence your job search, it’s a good time to consider and potentially clean up your online profile to make sure it is consistent with the image you want to project.
Here are 5 ways to take a proactive approach to manage on your online profile:
You can use monitoring sites such as Reppler, which give an overview of how others may perceive your online brand. See below. In 2 minutes it gave my Social Media Image Score 86 by analysing my posts and posts by others in my network showing my most commonly used words. It presents a fascinating snapshot of communication, commonality and language tone.
You can also Google yourself regularly to see what is coming up under content and images. Are there any inappropriate comments, images or tags that are linked to you? Is there any content you weren’t aware of through testimonials you may have made, groups you may have signed up for? I remember finding someone claiming I was a client of theirs in the past, when in fact I hadn’t ever engaged their services. It’s best to be on the front foot and know what is available on-line about you.
There are just some things that are best kept private so check your privacy settings, especially on Facebook. Why have an open page? Restricting access and managing settings is important to maintain control over what is being put up on your page. Test it! You can also be notified of potential risks and issues via monitoring sites – it’s about being aware and maintaining control.
Ask yourself how do you want to be seen? What is the professional image you want to be representing and how do you create this? This means as well as controlling what you don’t want the public to see, you can also control what you do want them to see. To be consistent with this image, you can like pages that represent your professional interests, you can follow people you admire, join groups and build a LinkedIn profile that reflects your key strengths and expertise.
It is quite common for us to view resumes and then find that LinkedIn profiles don’t match in terms of dates and even employers eg: they are jobs missing altogether. All your information needs to be consistent across platforms because otherwise the obvious question is which one is correct, why have details been omitted and why is the information different? There may be a logical and fair explanation – but you may also not get the opportunity to present your case. Tell the same story consistently.
Ultimately it is your responsibility to take care in what you do and say on social media. Your professional reputation can certainly be at risk if you aren’t paying attention and consideration with what you put into cyberspace. Also consider that your employment status might be on your Facebook page and this in turn can have a direct impact on your employer’s brand depending on what you are posting and liking. I certainly know of cases where employees have been reprimanded in line with corporate social media policies when their personal content on Facebook has been questionable.
Your professional image extends far beyond the people in your immediate network and the people you met face to face today. Your professional profile exists on-line and grows every day – sometimes without your knowledge.
Take control, manage your online image and ask yourself what would you think of this person? Would you hire them? Would you like them in your team? Is your profile consistent across platforms? These are the questions that I guarantee are being asked when potential employers do some fact checking of their own. Think about it – the image you portray is an important message you send to the external world and impressions can be made instantly. Be ahead of the game and take steps to ensure the impression you are creating is positive one.