The big dilemmas when designing your CV used to be about what font to use, whether or not to include your address or how much to ‘bend’ the truth. However, with the advent of social media, you’re not necessarily just selling your qualifications and experience, you’re able to establish your ‘personal brand’. For many, alarm bells start to ring: what about that picture of me in Ibiza? What about that slightly risqué tweet that backfired? How that slightly ropey YouTube video of my D grade Media Studies project?
The truth is that you can gain a lot from marketing yourself on social media, provided that you do it right. Here are a few things to bear in mind so that you can reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls..
Privacy Is Better Than Deception
You may have seen friends’ Facebook profiles with their names slightly changed or a middle name thrown in. These people may think they’ve ‘beaten the system’ and avoided any snooping from potential employers. They’re wrong. If an organisation can run an entire integrated social campaign across multiple platforms and use complex BI and marketing tools to create new markets, trust me – they can find you on Facebook. What they can see is another matter.
Having a Facebook profile with robust privacy settings is common-place these days. You can configure it easily to show your best side – leaving only your inner circle exposed to your slightly offbeat pictures. This may well be something you need to get used to in your professional life anyway. If you search for and get the teaching job you want with EduStaff, for example, you’ll want to keep your account private to prevent parents and pupils finding out. Doctors and many other public sector will undoubtedly feel the same.
Be Honest & Upfront
Remember, organisations don’t want robots. It’s all well and good trying to sound professional on your bio but employers will smell a rat if it’s not natural. Nothing is going to be more off putting than a Twitter bio: “John S is a freelance data-marketer with an interest in global analytics. He is committed to support SMEs to achieve their data needs in an efficient and cost-effective way.” Showing that you are a well-rounded person is fine. Businesses will expect to see some of this.
Show An Interest
On that note, a social media page – whether its Instagram or LinkedIn – allows you to put forward the things you find interesting and find new an interesting things from others. Follow the right people, share their content and interact with them. These people could be future employers or colleagues and if they’ve seen that you are an active and interested presence on social media they’ll have you in mind for posts or, at the very least, know that you’re genuinely interested in the industry.
Pick The Right Profile Picture
We’re not saying that you have to be snapped in a power-suit but organisations will often make assumptions about your personality from your profile pictures and you have to bear this in mind. A smiling headshot of you dressed in ‘work clothes’ should do the trick. Chances are if they remember you for your picture it’ll be for the wrong reasons.