Making your social media presence employer-friendly
Create a LinkedIn page and work hard to develop it!
LinkedIn is sort of the ‘professional Facebook’. Every aspiring employee should have a LinkedIn page that they keep updated with their latest professional developments, especially since LinkedIn is likely to be the first (and possibly only) social media platform your employers look you up on.
You do not have to be very active on it, but at least have a page that you update regularly. The mere fact that you have a page on LinkedIn, which is (relatively) updated is a sign that you are serious about your development and employment. Personally, I really like LinkedIn because I use it like a tracker system – to keep track of all my work, research, internship, and volunteering experiences and opportunities over the last few years.
Post and share content that is relevant to your work industry and interests
Employers are likely looking for someone, who among many traits, is well knowledgeable and aware of the latest developments in their industry. They want someone who shows keen interest in their industry and genuine passion for working in it. They want someone who loves their job. How can you show people that you love your job and are serious about it? Maybe share content from one of the top journals in the field or write a post when there are new developments and reflect on them.
Follow personalities who are well-established in your field(s) of interest
Continuing on from the point made above, one way to show your potential employers that you are seriously interested and committed to the industry you are working in/planning to work in, is by following the well-established ‘gurus’ of that industry. Do it for yourself as well – learn about these experts and authorities and learn why and how they succeeded in your industry and are placed at such a high pedestal, and hopefully their stories will inspire you.
Pick and choose your profile pictures well
First off, it has to be established that you must have a profile picture. Now that that is settled, let us go about discussing how you choose the picture. It might be cute to have a profile picture from when you were a child, but it would not really help if you are trying to land a job.
For one thing, employers need to identify you, which is why you need a picture that looks like your current self. Decide on a picture that is clear, shows your face well (i.e. don’t choose pictures where your back turned towards the camera), has good lighting, and is good quality. You also want to look sharp and smart in your picture, particularly your LinkedIn picture.
Use your real name and make sure it is the same across all platforms!
This might be obvious, but it is an important one to note. You want your name to be as identical as possible across all social media platforms, as well as your email addresses, and for it to be identical to the name you provide your employers with. You want your employers to find you easily and not mistake you for someone else.
Preferably, you want to use the same name that you use for official purposes and that is in your identification documents. Do not use nicknames as they are not as professional. Also, if you are bilingual or are looking to apply to jobs that require the use of different languages, then write your name in those languages as well, if possible.
Google yourself and see what comes up
This is very helpful and enlightening. You could be very surprised by what comes up! This is basically what people see when they look you up online, and any potential employers will very likely look you up! I would suggest you do so from a private browser, this way you can browse yourself as if using someone else’s computer. Check the Images section, too!
Tell people where you work on Facebook
Yes, LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for you to share your work experiences, but it is not a bad idea to mention where you work in the About section on your Facebook profile or in your Twitter bio. It shows that you are proud of where you work and what you do. It could also be a way for you to connect with potential employers and work partners via Facebook.
See how your Facebook profile appears to someone who you are not friends with
How you do this depends on the desktop version of Facebook you are using. If it is the New version: on your Facebook profile, click on the eye icon that can be found next to ‘Edit Profile’. If it is the Classic version: on your Facebook profile, click the three dots (…) icon at the bottom of your cover photo, and then choose ‘view as’. Click here for help.
Now, you can see what the ‘public’ see when they check out your Facebook profile. Is there anything on there that you did not know was visible to the public? You can always go back to individual posts and pictures and adjust their privacy settings to control who views them.
Go through your old social media posts
We have all been there: endlessly scrolling through our own profiles on Facebook or Instagram trying to understand what we were thinking when we posted that status or that photo 10 years ago?! Sure, it can be funny to recall what you used to post about, but for someone who does not know you well enough and is trying to form an impression, they might not see the funny side.
Review posts that might come off as offensive, hurtful, or ignorant, and even posts that might seem too politically oriented. Do not be afraid of deleting posts. If you are too fond of the memories, take screenshots, and then delete posts.
Consider deleting your account on social media platforms you no longer use
When we were younger, some of us might have created accounts on social media platforms that were very popular back then. For example, at some point during middle school, it became a trend to have an account on this social media platform where you can ask people questions anonymously and respond to questions posted to you anonymously.
After the craze over that website died down, I no longer checked my account, and have not done so for many years. Yet, that account still exists under my name along with everything it contains – and it is quite embarrassing! So, I decided to delete the account and save myself the embarrassment.
Proofread before you post!
Always proofread for spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as sentence structure and syntax before you post. Also, check your choice of words. Are your words accurate and precise? Are there words you can use to better convey your ideas? Are there alternative phrases that might seem more professional? Could any of your words be grossly misinterpreted? You want to ensure that what you are about to post: makes sense, is easy to read, and does not potentially offend anyone.
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