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Isn’t it odd to think that there used to be a time when we befriended people with zero knowledge of what their social life looked like? When we had absolutely no idea what our friends, colleagues and acquaintances were doing, watching, eating or drinking on the weekend? Social media has become so integrated into our lives that we no longer even notice its presence. With everyone and their dog posting what feels like minute-by-minute updates of their weekends, it’s easy to let our boundaries slip in the name of expressing our authentic selves.
But where does it stop? If you’re just beginning your first professional job hunt or contemplating a career change, you might have no idea where to start in your social media audit. Is a potential employer really going to care about that cocktail bucket selfie of “Kos 2016”? Will professional connections be put off, or impressed by your love of philosophical memes? Should you take a look at some of the pages on your “liked” list? If you’ve never conducted a social media audit before, it can be tricky to know where to start!
As a recruitment agency that’s been around since before the first myspace page, we’ve sourced millions of candidates over the years. In that time, we’ve seen the good, the bad and the just plain weird, when it comes to peoples’ social media profiles! To help you out, here’s a handy guide:
But first, let me take a selfie…
From above … filtered … no red eye … the number of things to take into account when posting a selfie is ridiculous! But ahead of whether or not your picture showcases your bone structure to its absolute max, you may want to consider whether or not it reflects you in a professional light.
While at university or college, photos of you partying hard are a brilliant way to curate online street cred. But when it comes to the job hunt, you might need to take a different approach. Although no-one’s saying you have to become a Boring Belinda overnight, if you want to score that all-time important first job, you may need to polish up your image.
Here are a few handy points to bear in mind…
Don’t worry, we aren’t suggesting you wear a suit! Just make sure you look presentable. By bearing these key tips in mind, you can convey your unique, individual personality without tarnishing your professional brand.
Keep it cool
With the advent of online news, it’s easier than ever to connect with like-minded people and express your views on the hot topics of today. Now, while we’re all in favor of standing up for your beliefs, it’s important to be mindful of how you do so, in today’s ever-connected world. With this in mind, it may be worth looking back over content that you’ve posted in the recent past. If you know you’re passionate about certain issues, it may be especially helpful to keep an eye out for memes, statuses or articles you’ve shared that reflect your views.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with delivering your viewpoints. But if you know you have a tendency to get very impassioned, it’s worth keeping an eye out for content that could be considered overly provocative, controversial or aggressive. We all have different opinions, after all, and we need to work together. If you’re just starting out in your job search, it’s worth keeping your content politically neutral, so as not to alienate potential employers who may think differently to you.
Privacy = protection!
What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas … right? Well…
With tagging, commenting and liking, event photos you may not choose to give center stage in your profile picture or cover photo are still visible for all to see. But does this mean you never get to document a night out online again? Not at all! Just make sure that you adjust your privacy settings. Any albums that you don’t want people to see, set to private. Or, you could take it one step further and change your settings so that only people you’ve added can see your photos at all. If you’ve just left university or college, it may seem like a big ask, to go from sharing every fancy-dress snap to guarding your privacy. But trust us, your caution will pay off!
With all this deleting, safeguarding and un-tagging, it can be easy to forget what social media is really for – connecting with awesome people! Once you’ve had a thorough audit, be sure to get back to enjoying social media for what it does best. Although it’s wise to exercise a little caution, when you’re looking for a new job, social media is not your enemy; on the contrary, it can be your best friend! With Facebook interest groups to join, Twitter hashtags to follow, Pinterest boards to inspire and Instagram influencers to admire, social media can be your superpower if you harness it with skill.