Guide to Creating a Professional Social Image for Amazing Job Opportunities

 

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Social media will kill your job hunt efforts.

Social media will boost your job prospects.

All statements are applicable today. And even more so for young millennials searching for a job today.

 

 

 

(Source)

 

Millennials (myself included) are the generation that made possible social media. It’s now a part of life and how we communicate with our close ones and the world.

Employers & companies know this, and one core reason:

They use it to create a judgement of who we are, for better or worse.

What do you need to do then, to make social media work for your job hunt efforts?

First, you need to do some well-needed cleaning.

 

Step 1. Clean up your digital footprint (it may be dirty)

Before anything, social media shouldn’t hamper your job efforts. You probably think it unfair and quite arbitrary in how hiring managers use content they find online against you.

 

You: It’s just for fun. It’s separate from my working life. It’s private.

Companies & the world: It’s a public sphere, and you should behave according to social norms.

Ask yourself: Can I afford not to change?

No, you can’t. At the very least you need to clean up (even if you think you are well behaved) your social media profiles, to not let it hold you back.

Below are key steps to take:

 

Search Yourself Up

Use a popular search engine to search your given name. Also include any usernames you go by and nicknames you use online.

What do you find? Is there much to change? You will be surprised at all the things that pop up. Not having anything pop up is a problem too, but that will be talked about later.

 

Key Tip: Also focus on platforms that you use the most. These platforms will have a significant chunk of what you need deleting.

Images: Images can be tricky, as you may not be tagged or shown in a description. But for those images where your face has a name to it, dig them all up.

 

Delete and Backspace those Pesky Images & Comments

These statistics talk for themselves:

  • 55% of companies and employers found stuff online that pushed them to reconsider potential job candidates, 61% not hiring when reconsidering (Jobvite).
  • Now, 93% of recruiters and companies use social media in their selection process.

Hopefully, you aren’t in these figures:

  • X-rated and explicit content: 46% of hiring managers won’t consider you if you have R rated material, i.e. showing too much skin or cussing every 2nd word when you comment.
  • Drug and alcohol related stuff: 41% will cross your name out.
  • Gossiping about an ex-boss: 36% will ignore you for bad-mouthing previous employers.

(Source)

 

Delete anything that falls within these figures. Use common sense to see what would be seen as inappropriate or unprofessional by employers.

Fav Profiles: Focus on platforms that you use the most. These platforms will have a significant chunk of what you need deleting.

Images: Images can be tricky. You can’t search up photos that don’t have your name tagged, even if you are in some. But target photos that have your name tagged, or if your name is in the descriptions.

Friends and Groups: Any friends and groups that you interact with regularly need shaking up. They may have talked about you, or forwarded various things that could leave the wrong impression. It may have been for fun, but see what you can find that needs tweaking for your sake.

Here is how to begin your online makeover.

 

Step 2. What Profiles and Forms of Communication do You Use?

First off, after cleaning up your digital dirty laundry, you need to look inwards.

What sort of communicator are you? It can be:

  1. You post photos and create digital images to communicate
  2. You type with unique personality on Twitter
  3. You like describing events with slides, almost like a presentation

Often, the way you communicate is the best way you learn. I am a book person, and love reading novels and articles.

Find out what sort of communicator you are, and choose several platforms that support your preference.

 

I’ll use writing, as it is my preference. Twitter and Blogging can be great ways to promote yourself.

Twitter: It’s useful to follow professionals and companies that are your target for your dream job. Not only that, but it’s casual and conversation happens more naturally.

You may be someone interested in human resources and behavioural management. Using a recent hot topic, you can craft a Tweet and join in on conversations along these matters.

Example: Yes, I agree that practices are changing and need change. I am an active follower of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos. The recent proclamation he made, to buy in or leave was astounding. It may have been a tough move, but he is doing what he saw as the right move forward: getting rid of managers and making everyone responsible and accountable. But I think he is promoting everyone, giving back to employees. Regardless, there will be people that are ‘managers’ all but in name, that will have more weight and have more decision-making power. What kind of practices do you have in X? There was an interesting read, (link) that relates to the thread of what you were discussing earlier…

 

Twitter pointers:

140 words or less is optimum for Tweets. You have to be concise and be straight to the point. Irrelevance is bad and should be shunned.

See the (link) I added? It’s often a great way to slide in articles that you found interesting. Make sure you explain why it is relevant, and insights that you gained from the article.

 

Final Thoughts

Step 3?

Yes, there needs to be a step 3. Rather, it should be between Step 1 and 2.

Basically, you need to create a professional image online using LinkedIn and a few other profiles.

But what was discussed in step 2 is important. It is the start to creating substance, ‘content’ that will market yourself. It will set you up as knowledgeable, and showcase your expertise. You will be seen as someone ‘in the loop’.

Focus on trending topics and emerging issues in your target industry.

 

The key here is consistency. You need to be on top, be consistently active in whatever format you are marketing yourself.

 

What do you do online for your professional image? What profiles do you use?

Please share your insight and tips in the comments below.

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