There was once a time when social media was used for keeping in touch with select friends and family members. It wasn’t too long ago when you could post a picture of your cat without it potentially reaching a global audience.
Now, your social circle is much bigger – whether you want it to be or not – and people you may not know can get a level of insight into who you are from your online persona. This isn’t always a bad thing, but if they don’t like cats, you could be in trouble.
When you’re looking for a job, a stray post could set you back significantly in your search. According to a study by Jobvite, a huge 93 per cent of hiring managers say they review an applicant’s social media profiles before making a decision.
Refining your online presence, then, could be a good use of your time. The study found that 79 per cent of respondents have hired through LinkedIn, a quarter via Facebook, and 14 per cent through Twitter.
So, for any eager jobseekers, it’s time to look at three dos and three don’ts when using social media.
1) Feel free to promote yourself professionally – though perhaps subtly. If you’ve achieved something in work and you think it’s worth shouting about, doing so can impress your potential employer and let them know that your professional life is a big part of your personal one.
2) Use privacy settings – they are designed to keep your personal details and reputation intact, after all. If you have to say something, but are worried about the ripple effect on a wider level, simply switch your profile to private, or “friends only”. All social media channels have this option.
3) Choose your profile picture wisely. No matter how good your privacy settings, people searching for you will usually still be able to see your profile picture. Make sure it’s something suitable for work. Quick tip: if you wouldn’t let your colleagues see your current one, it probably needs changing.
1) Swear. In a piece of research by the University of California, Los Angeles, 30 per cent of recruiters said they would reject an application outright if they saw the use of profanity on one of their social media posts.
2) Complain about your work. There’s a time and place for venting, and social media is no longer it. According to the same piece of UCLA research, 44 per cent of recruiters would be put off if they saw you bashing your current or previous employer.
3) Take spelling for granted – it could easily give off the wrong impression. The truth is, without those privacy settings locking down your posts, tweets and shares, people can make snap judgements, even on your spelling. If your profile is public, take a second to check that your spelling and grammar is up to scratch before posting.
Two-thirds of recruiters said they hold such things against a jobseeker, Jobvite found. Particularly as a training industry professional, you’ll want to promote the fact that knowledge is your weapon, not your enemy.
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