Is Your Online Presence Affecting Your Job Prospects?
TIPS FOR GRADUATES:
We hear so many people talking about “online brand” or “social media” and how it can increase your chances of gaining employment and development in your career, however just as your online brand can benefit your career it can also be very damaging. In simple terms, when you post on social media or the internet, once it’s out there…it’s out there!
The world of traditional recruitment is changing and more and more companies and recruitment agencies are checking potential applications through social media sites. First impression for many organisations are not at the interview stage, they’re before that, during the application process. Many hiring managers will check a candidate’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. Here are some things you may be doing that could affect your changes of gaining employment.
I am a strong believer that your Facebook profile is your personal site, it reflects you and you should post whatever you like freely, including the pages you like and your photos. However, if your Facebook profile is not private, anyone could view your photos, statuses etc, this can be very risky if you have photos of you constantly socializing, drinking or partying. This could have a negative effect on the employer, even if you don’t do this daily, you are painting a picture of your personality.
Now, you can post whatever you like, it’s your profile after all, one tip though is to change your settings and keep it private! Just for the sake of your job search, keep your profile and background photo simple and classy. Unfortunately we all live in a visually judgmental world and people are quick to have an opinion of you, even though they haven’t met you. Trust me, you are being checked out on social media by employers so throughout your job search be mindful of how you would like an employer to view you.
If you have LinkedIn then that’s fantastic! LinkedIn is a must and is one of the fastest growing social media sites and the only professional profile site commonly used. If you are going to have a LinkedIn profile, ensure that it is updated properly with a clear heading and a professionally presented photo, preferably wearing a business shirt or suit jacket. A great way to increase your public profile on LinkedIn is to join groups and follow companies. LinkedIn has many groups where people share opinions and discussion.
Personally, I would stay away from commenting on a negative status or discussion about a person or company. You are entitled to your opinion but again think about your “first impression” and how you are being perceived to potential employers. If you comment on a bad experience you had with a company, then future employers may feel that you could do the same thing with them. The saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all” – is always the best policy. Do not use photos where you are socializing, holding a beer or making funny faces (trust me…I have seen it all!). A plain and simple photo against a plain wall with a nice smile always works best.
Fainaaz Ali Director of Careers