NEWSFLASH: future employers look at your social media profiles. I know what you’re thinking—pretty revolutionary information, amirite?!
Before whining about the legality or illegality of such practices to all willing ears, take a second to relax. And listen up.
Because the fact is: Employers do it, regardless. So, you may opt out of social media—vis a vis changing your name and hiding your profiles—or you can choose to see this as an opportunity to strengthen your personal brand in the eyes of your potential employer.
It’s up to you.
But if you choose the former, quit reading this post, and go away. This is for people seeking unexpected opportunity.
If you only take one thing from this article it should be this: Build out ALL of your profiles, not just a particular platform. We see a lot of students focus on beefing up their LinkedIn profiles come job search time, but your other platforms, e.g Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, can carry some solid presence as well.
This isn’t to say your LinkedIn should be anything less than stellar. At the time of publishing this article; 98% of recruiters are on LinkedIn, posting 77% of available jobs on LinkedIn. Of all the available jobs, 48% are posted exclusively on LinkedIn.
What does this mean for you? It means you better damn well be on LinkedIn.
But what about the social media platforms? Those platforms, which don’t traditionally carry a professional focus? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.
Treat these non-professional focused channels can serve as modules within your professional brand.
Instagram, Vine, Flickr, etc.
Your industry will play a role in this first group, but for the creative bunch out there—you know, those of you who can actually color inside the lines—use these platforms to showcase your portfolio. Show off your skills and create some visuals. Even if you aren’t a member of the Creatives, you may also use these platforms to share photos from any volunteer work, (appropriate) hobbies, and everyday life.
Don’t just be another number in the system. Let your prospective employers see you as the well-rounded person you are, who will seamlessly mesh into their organization’s culture.
Compliment the visual content you are already sharing by tweeting articles and news related to your industry. By consistently sharing good material from credible sources, you build your credibility on particular subject matters. Twitter is especially helpful, even if you’re not currently employed in your desired field.
Combine the aforementioned items, and then expand. Replace the photos of parties and Grumpy Cat memes with albums that show the story of your trips, hobbies and volunteer work. Populate the description section with a narrative of the event, what you learned, and how you grew.
Create albums for your work, and keep them up to date. This displays some progression in your work and how long you’ve been involved.
Facebook is where a fair majority of people tends to opt out. They either deactivate their accounts for the duration of their job search, or they try and hide from the Internet crawlers by changing their name.
This might be a new concept, but this is a prime opportunity for you to take advantage of what is typically seen as solely negative. You may hear it’s a bad idea. That’s okay. The people telling you this are only looking out for your best interests. Don’t get too caught up in what they’re saying, though. As others continue to opt out of social media, they also opt out for the potentially awesome opportunity at stake.
Don’t be like them. Take your own road.