If you’re considering a career change, social media can be a wonderful tool to help you find opportunities and introductions not easily available in your day-to-day life. At the same time, these tools can cut the other way, if not used properly.
For example, if you think the picture above is a great way to show potential employers your “fun” or “interesting” side, think again. It’s important to be judicious in how you use social platforms, while also understanding how potential employers may use them to recruit or screen applicants. This is essential to improving–not hurting–your odds of getting the job with the help of social media.
With that in mind, here are three critical–yet simple–things to consider when job hunting with social media.
Leverage information to your benefit
Profiles for hiring managers and corporations on sites such as LinkedIn and GlassDoor can help you immeasurably. You’re able to see people you may know in common, better understand the corporate culture of a potential employer, and even see what former employees have to say about the organization. This information puts you in a position to make sure this is somewhere you’d really like to work, in addition to providing you a great opportunity to ask more insightful questions during the hiring process.
Be committed, but don’t overcommit
Rather trying to keep several social profiles up to date and relevant, focus on one or two that you know can help you convey your personality and professionalism. Having a smaller number of current and relevant profiles is much more impressive to potential employers. It gives them a chance to see what’s important to you and how you choose to interact with others in this type of environment.
For instance, LinkedIn is widely seen as the “professional” social network. Investing time on this platform will likely benefit you more in the job search than, say, Snapchat. Also look for platforms that integrate with one another. This will allow you to effectively double your social presence with each post you make. Instagram and Facebook are two examples.
Be smart with social media
This should go without saying, but make sure the images you have tied to your profiles are professional and appropriate. While you may love a certain movie character, entertainer or sports team, setting those types of images for your profile may turn off potential employers. And, of course, be sure to take down any embarrassing or incriminating images/posts that may possibly be viewed by potential employers.
You may never be told, but the fact is many hiring teams do actively look at social profiles for candidates and may choose to hold certain things against you. Take the time to look at your profiles to make sure anything there can only help you. Alternatively, adjust you privacy settings to ensure that only your trusted circle of friends can see your fun “yolo” posts.
Being connected and having so much information at your disposal offers great opportunities. Take advantage of these opportunities and protect yourself at the same time.
Image credit: San Diego Comic-Con International 2012: Facebooking by Kevin Dooley (contact)