Social Media #FTW - For the Win!
Social Media has caused a wave of influence on the current generation of job candidates. We have complete access to all social media platforms. We can access them in the morning, during work, or while lying awake in bed. There is no limit to the amount of time spent on these applications and websites. Until recently, social networking was viewed as a fun social environment where individuals could and should post anything and everything they wanted with no repercussions. This is not the case anymore. Companies are starting to view individuals’ social media content before offering them new positions. The chart below highlights the wide range of topics (posted inappropriate photos, posted inappropriate comments, posted content about them drinking, posted content about them using drugs, posted negative comments about a previus employer, demonstrated poor communication skills, made discriminatory comments, lied about their qualifications, shared confidential information from a previous employer) in which candidates have been rejected. Scary, huh? I bet you haven’t thought of all of those! Take a second and look at them and try to see if you may have been rejected for any of those reasons!
According to the chart, out of all the employers polled who monitor social media for incoming employees, only 26% have never rejected a candidate for what they put on the internet; that means the lion’s share of employers find a reason to not hire a potential candidate because of what people may transiently and absentmindly post! This is a brand new way of thinking that is increasing among employers. I’ve compiled a list of five (5) things that need to be done to eliminate the risk of losing a job opportunity while utilizing Social Media to enhance your own brand.
1. Remove Questionable Material
The first step that needs to be taken is to remove any content that you would not want future employers to see. That picture of you at the bar? That offensive Twitter post? This content can cause red flags for employers who are looking to obtain a future hire with the right characteristics . As the chart shows above, all kinds of content can exclude you as a prospective employee for a job position. I don’t know about you, but losing a job opportunity over something I posted on Social Media would be a pretty dumb way to lose an opportunity.
Bottom line: If you wouldn’t hire yourself if you were an employer because of a comment or a picture you posted online, the material is probably questionable and shouldn’t be posted.
2. Engage In Your Future
You are probably asking yourself, “What does engage in your future mean?” As an employer, I would look to see the kinds of post or pictures you are portraying to the world. If you are an individual looking to get into the finance world, I’d suggest that you start engaging. Tweet about future stocks, comment on the Fed (The Federal Reserve System), and engage with others within the same topic area. Use Twitter as an open discussion by portraying your own ability to talk about the business with ease. We’re always told about what we shouldn’t be putting on Social Media sites, but we are often not told what we can do to enhance our own image. The ability to show a future employer that you are knowledgeable about a certain subject can lead to a job. Engaging about a topic shows that this is more than just a future job, but it’s a part of your life and you are passionate about it, whether that employer wants you to be or not.
Bottom line: Using social media as a forum to show what you know may put you in the limelight during an employer’s search for candidates.
3. Post Often
The ability to post often is a necessity. This doesn’t mean to bombard your followers with material that has no meaning. Post often, but post effectively. The ability to show a future employer that your posts are effective instead of excessive is a must. You can never have too much content, as long as that content is relevant to the opportunity trying to be obtained. If you are trying to enter Ford, write about cars, tweet about cars, take pictures of your car. It doesn’t make sense to post often about the food you make every single night.
Bottom line: Post relevantly; excessive material may be distracting.
4. Distinquish Between Work and Play
Don’t make the mistake that employers will look at your LinkedIn profile because that is considered a professional social media tool and will ignore your Facebook account. If you want to tweet or post about personal issues, and share your thoughts on controversial matters, I’d suggest creating a second account. Facebook is deemed personal and if you don’t want an employer looking at it, I’d suggest making your account private (another blog for another day!). That allows you to only let certain individuals look at the material. More and more on Twitter, I’m seeing individuals create a personal account and a work account. For example, some sportswriters have a Twitter account to share their personal thoughts, but will have a separate sports account to tweet during games for those who are not always interested in such events. This allows them to enhance their sporting image while following others within the sports community. It distinguishes between what is being done for work and what is being done for themselves.
Bottom line: Create multiple social media accounts for the purposes of separating work and play.
5. Have Fun
This post isn’t intended to scare you into deleting any personal information from Social Media, but it is to enhance your knowledge and for you to make the decision on what is deemed acceptable or not. Social Media is meant to be fun so keep it that way. Don’t take yourself or social media too seriously and enjoy it for what it’s worth. It’s a great way to get new ideas, meet new people, and interact with colleagues. We live in a world where you can share ideas on a subject thousands of miles away with a response in a matter of seconds. Take advantage of it and use it to enhance your own brand. You won’t regret it.
Bottom line: Social meda is changing the way business is conducted, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!
- Alexis C. Madrigal, What You Shouldn't Post on Your Facebook Page If You Want a Job, (October 2011), http://m.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/10/what-you-shouldnt-post-on-your-facebook-page-if-you-want-a-job/246093/
- Kashmir Hill, Welcome to The Not-So Private Parts where technology and privacy collide, http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/
- Social Media Image is available at the Wikipedia Commons, by Sofiaperesoa (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]
(This post is by Sam Boyd. All accolades and credits for this tremendous blog post belong to him. If you would like to reach out to Sam, you can follow him on Twitter or visit his LinkedIn page.)