by Sydney Olszewski
Senior Marketing Associate at Charles Aris Inc.
In the series opener, we discussed what social media can do for your organization. This edition will tackle a different angle: what social media can do for you.
As of March 31, 2019, there were more than 2.38 billion active monthly users on Facebook. That’s billion with a B. If you’re reading this right now, there’s a high likelihood that you’re part of that statistic.
Here’s the deal: The impact of social media on your professional development can be a positive one, but it can also be detrimental. Before you leave this page and deactivate all your accounts, please allow me to explain.
Interested in a new opportunity? Hiring authorities or recruiters or both are going to make their way to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and / or Instagram to see what they can find about you. This is where it gets tricky. Nobody is asking you to put up a façade of this picture-perfect, work-driven life on your personal channels. What we’re advising is for you to be smart about what you’re putting out there for the world to see.
Here are a few key social media dos and don’ts:
- Don’t post negatively about current OR past employers, supervisors, colleagues or customers
- You may have negative feelings about any number of the aforementioned groups, but turning to social media to talk about it is one thing and one thing only: unprofessional.
- Avoid any inconsistency
- If you’re telling your recruiter you’ve been in your current role for three years, any other mention of that job should match that. If Facebook says one year and LinkedIn says two … something is wrong. Don’t give recruiters or hiring authorities any reason to question your job history or integrity.
- Don’t post inappropriate comments or images
- Keep ALL posts and comments clean. Avoid stirring up conflict with others. Remember: Everything you post is a direct representation of your character.
- Split personality
- If the person you see online is 180 degrees from the person you are in real life, that’s a red flag. Make sure your online presence is a direct representation of who you are ALL the time, not just behind a computer screen.
Now that we have the negative aspects out of the way, it’s time for the positive: the great things social media can do for you. What I don’t want is for this post to deter you from making the most of social networks. The fact of the matter is, when used correctly, they are powerful tools.
When seeking new opportunities, know that hiring authorities are looking at more than your performance metrics and job history. A large part of the hiring decision is based on candidates’ cultural fit.
If a recruiter or hiring authority views your social profiles and realizes that you’re following the aforementioned guidelines, she likely will see this as nothing but positive reinforcement of your potential to be a strong cultural fit in her organization.
Networking? Behind a computer screen? Welcome to 2019! LinkedIn is especially useful for this, as one of its primary uses is to make connections and interact with them. Whether you’re looking for new opportunities or simply expanding your professional sphere, social networks unsurprisingly make networking a breeze. Share a professional blog post you’ve written, interact with others’ content, join groups based on your career or interests … the list goes on.
Laud others’ accomplishments while sharing your own
There’s a difference between confidence and pride. There’s also a difference between reality and stretching the truth just to look good on social media. Receive a promotion or award from your organization? Let your network know! However, keep in mind how often and how boastfully you do so. Avoid cluttering others’ feeds with posts touting the great things you’ve accomplished – whether personal or professional.
Don’t forget to congratulate your followers and connections on their own accomplishments. This is another way to communicate with your online network. Every touchpoint counts … and it’s the right thing to do.
Stay in the know
Organizations and individuals alike take to social media to share industry insights, updates and opportunities. This is a great way to share what you know and learn what you don’t.
The moral of the story? When you participate responsibly and intelligently, social media outlets are a great way to expand your network and build a productive digital presence. If you’re already on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – keep it up. If not, jump over to your favorite social channel and I’ll see you there!