Don’t let Social Media ruin your job search…

24 Mar 2015 by Sarah Leembruggen.

So how do you use social media in a professional capacity without jeopardising your chances of career progression? To get on in the world of work, there are certain standards that need to be adhered to – these standards apply to the world of social media etiquette too.

1. Don’t neglect LinkedIn

Like many other employers, we check out the LinkedIn profile (and Twitter feed) before we interview anyone – and we Google them too. If we find comments that suggest they are looking for different career paths or their pages are full of inappropriate photos or extreme opinions, we don’t bother calling them in. Spending a little time getting your LinkedIn page up to scratch will ensure that you don’t  fall at the first hurdle. Your page should show an appropriate photo (see our previous blog on nailing the LinkedIn photo), have a well-written bio, clear details about your work history and education, and better still, a variety of endorsements and recommendations to boost your credibility.

2. Don’t disregard your Twitter bio

Your Twitter bio is supposed to sum up who you are in just a limited number of characters. Firstly, it's important to have one. Not having a bio robs you of personality and also suggests that you don't know how to use social networks effectively. On a basic level, your bio should tell people who you are and what you do, although don't be afraid to be creative. What you can't afford to do is put people off and waste characters on favourite band names and love hearts.

3. Don’t ignore your privacy settings

Regardless of the open and closed nature of different networks, adjusting the privacy settings allows you dictate who can see what, if anything at all. You can use these settings to make it more difficult for people to find you or just to hide certain statuses and photos from all but friends. This ensures that employers won’t stumble across that dreaded 'Magaluf 2013' album.

4. Don’t be inappropriate

Obvious, right?  It’s surprising how many clients we have spoken to who have told us about odd and indiscreet messages they have received via LinkedIn from people interested in jobs. One of the most common complaints is people trying to be too ‘pally’, and coming over as cocky. The rules for making a good first impression are the same whether it’s over social media, via email or in person.

5. Don’t assume things are forgotten

You may have written posted some outlandish Tweets and shared a bit too much information in your time, but just because you have smartened up your act in recent years, those Tweets are still there lurking on your feed and prospective employers will trawl through them if they want to know more about you.

6. Don’t be too loose-lipped

Save venting about an employer, getting into a heated political discussion or expressing risqué opinions for another time and place. Don’t say anything via social media that you wouldn’t say to client or a potential employer in public. Contemplate the worthiness of broadcasting to mankind every emotion that makes it to your tongue’s tip. It really isn’t worth the risk.

7. Don’t ignore your online presence

If you want to appear professional online, Google yourself, go through all of the links that are relevant to you and tidy them up as needed. You might be surprised by what shows up. It is possible to place a request through Google to have things removed.

With careful handling and sensible navigation, social media can take you a long way. Just remember to dedicate time to keeping it all ship-shape so that when a potential employer does check out your credentials, you can feel confident that there will be no nasty surprises.

The Works Search and Selection specialise in placing mid - senior level roles in PR and corporate communications with some of the most exciting companies in London.  Do get in touch if you think you're a highflyer looking for a step up or indeed if you need support with finding a hidden gem for your team.

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