The following article is an excerpt from HRiter December 2016, a publication of Humain-I, the HR Club of IIM Indore.
You can visit their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/HRClub.IIMIndore/
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that your social media account says a lot about you. Why else do you spend hours carefully selecting your photos for Tinder, or use Photoshop on your Facebook profile picture (You know you’ve done it). Inherently, you want to make a good impression on anyone checking your profile. But it’s not just your crush that is looking into it (If only). More importantly – yes, more importantly, potential recruiters are also checking your social media activity. Don’t believe it? Well since you like numbers so much, let’s throw some your way.
37% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. 12% of hiring managers uncover reasons to not hire a candidate and 29% feel that a good presence online have led to them extending an offer. So yes, your presence online DOES have a bearing on your professional career and now that we’ve established it, let’s see how NOT to go about using social media.
While a good balance between your LinkedIn time and life is advisable, leaving it high and dry is not. Don’t disappear once you’ve set up your account. After all what was the point? Have a clear goal in mind and invest your time strategically and in no time you’ll have it producing the best results for you. Don’t get hooked on to answering, remember it’s LinkedIn and not Quora. Yes, LinkedIn addiction is a thing!
Don’t. Just don’t. Yes, I agree that you are a trusted connection once you’re added, but that doesn’t call for overenthusiastic branding and selling. Be the child who refrains from grabbing a cookie at the cookie jar at the counter. Customising your requests and introductions is always a better way to break the ice rather than going the conventional way with default messages (They’re sick of it too, get the hint!).
REMEMBER IT’S A PROFESSIONAL NETWORKING PLATFORM:
Don’t post irrelevant content on your LinkedIn profile. While wanting to appear to be just the connection potential employers may be looking for, you might want to hold your horses with some content. This also includes angry posts regarding mean bosses (Absolute no!).
DON’T BE TOO CREATIVE:
While setting up a personalised profile with creative usage of tags will deem you to be the perfect connection on LinkedIn, you might want to reconsider fancy titles which will make it difficult for people to find you. Gimmicks will take away from the power of LinkedIn to help you build a strong network which is its very purpose. Instead make use of the LinkedIn badges on various sites and make yourself more accessible.
Ah, this is a tricky one.
You might be thinking, “Why should I double check everything I say on my personal social media account? It’s my account and what I post is my business.”
Well because this is the real world. Remember, your posts, your opinions and your reactions are very revealing about your personality. There is only so much a recruiter can get to know of you in an interview. Since social media is a dominant form of communication these days, a background check can tell a lot.
So what should you refrain from doing on your Facebook account?
NO ANTI-ESTABLISHMENT POSTS:
You would think this would go without saying. But we are so used to posting things happening around us – what we had for lunch, how many kilometers we jogged that morning, how we’re “Feeling Moody”, “Feeling Angry”, etc., that expressing frustration at our job, our boss or our colleagues might come naturally. Well if it does come naturally to you, then repress that feeling. Not only is it really stupid, because your colleagues might be your FB friends and your Boss might see the post, it also doesn’t look good to potential recruiters. You will come across as a person who’s difficult to work with.
DON’T BE POLITICALLY INCORRECT:
Again, you might grumble that you have a right to express your opinion. And you do. As do people have a right to judge you. The worst thing is you might not even know that you’ve been rejected because of that one sexist joke you posted months ago on your timeline. It was a joke you say, but not everyone views things the way you do.
On the other hand if you feel you must be “True to yourself” and consciously post an unpopular political opinion, then be ready to accept the fact that a company might not think you fit in with their culture because of it.
DO NOT POST UNDER THE INFLUENCE:
Under the influence of what? Well, whatever your poison may be. Just like we tend to text or call our ex when we’re drunk, which is a bad, very bad idea – we sometimes tend to post stupid comments and share controversial photos. You might delete them all the next day, but this is the internet we’re talking about. Nothing is gone forever.
Well now that we’re clear with the Don’t, what are the Do’s?
Be sure to have a profile picture which paints a clean, friendly image of you.
Filter out anything that can tarnish your reputation.
Post communication, links and photos which show you in the best light possible.
With so many things to keep in mind, you might think deleting all your accounts might be the safest thing to do. Well, bad news. Not having ANY online presence is also a Red Flag. It leads the recruiters to wonder what you’re hiding.
So take time out today, go Google your name, start cleaning up and creating a good presence online!