As social media becomes more popular — and more searchable online — many companies actually do a quick search while researching top applicants. On top of that, many companies actually take social media into consideration when recruiting new hires. If your career strategy calls for a new job at some point, or if you want to develop yourself in a particular career, don’t neglect your social media profiles.
How Professional is Your Image?
With an increasing number of companies looking on social media for information about candidates, you need to be aware of how professional your image is on social media. While you don’t have to be buttoned up for Facebook, it can help to make sure that pictures of you partying hard or wearing revealing outfits, doing something illegal or reckless, or status updates that are overly profane or derogatory are all avoided.
Realize, too, that public tweets are searchable in Google (the Library of Congress is even keeping some for the historical record), and comments that you leave on blogs are also searchable and viewable. When you make comments in public — and the Internet is very public — you are setting yourself. Think about how you are conducting yourself. Realize that hiring managers and recruiters aren’t just poking around on LinkedIn anymore. You could find that human resources is very interested in your Facebook and Twitter profiles, as well as curious to see what sort of comments you leave on blogs.
Carefully think about how a post, whether it’s an image, video, status update, or comment, can affect your professional image, and how it might look to someone that you hope will help your career. Think twice if the post could cast you in an unprofessional light.
Are You Using Keywords in Your Social Media Interactions?
If one of your career goals is to be seen as an expert, or to be noticed in your chosen field, you need to use your social media profiles to your advantage. Show yourself knowledgeable about your industry by your status updates and your tweets. While you don’t have to constantly tweet industry news, or post in-depth commentary in Facebook Notes, you should make an effort to show that you are up to date, and that you are interested in your career field, and that you can make thoughtful observations.
Use keywords in your profile descriptions. This makes you more searchable. Include proactive statements. Remember the old “elevator pitch?” The info in your LinkedIn or Facebook profile, or listed on your Twitter profile, is like an elevator pitch for cyberspace. Craft a brief statement that concisely states what you do, using a keyword or two.
Do You Follow Important People in Your Field?
If you want to be noticed in the industry of your choice, you need to make sure that you are following the important people in your industry. Use LinkedIn to connect to people that those in your network know. Follow industry players on Twitter, and occasionally retweet them. While you don’t want to randomly try to friend someone on Facebook, you can Like the pages of companies you would like to work for.
With some careful thought and a social media strategy, you can clean things up so that your profiles are compatible with your career aspirations.