Did you know that over 60 percent of IT hiring managers screened their job candidates via social networking sites or online search engines, according to a CareerBuilder study? While it’s common sense to keep your social media profiles business casual, are you maximizing your professional online presence? Here’s how to leverage the top social media outlets to your advantage.
Whether you’re hiring or being hired, professionals use LinkedIn as their go-to informal screening tool. So, first impressions are crucial. First, make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. Get and give some endorsements and recommendations. This should fill in any gaps that can cause an eyesore. Then, grow your network. Follow companies and thought leaders in your field and connect with colleagues and clients from your past and present. Join some industry groups and engage in discussions. Make a post from time to time. You don’t necessarily need to frequent LinkedIn every day, but at least make sure all your information is up to date and you have a profile picture. People like to see there is a real person behind all those qualifications.
While Twitter may seem confusing (hashtags, at signs and those darn 140-character limits), it’s actually a great resource to aggregate up-to-the-minute (seconds, really) media in your industry. Like LinkedIn, you can follow thought leaders and companies that interest you and organize them by lists. Twitter gives you the opportunity to become a thought leader yourself and grow your own list of followers. If this is your intent, it’s imperative you stay active tweeting and retweeting. You won’t attract any new followers with a stale feed.
If your intent is to keep Facebook strictly for fun, take some precautions. Make sure your profile and cover photos are presentable – those are public. Check your privacy settings and set them so that only you and/or your friends can see your posts. You can also limit who can search for your profile or ask to become your friend. You should also review all the posts you are tagged in before they are posted to your timeline.
More Social Media
If you have other social media profiles, such as Google+, Instagram and Pinterest, make sure they paint a positive portrait of you as well. You can turn on your privacy setting in Instagram and Twitter to screen potential followers. Beyond saving face, you can develop your own professional portfolio website and/or blog to bolster your online presence. Just remember, social media is there to help you be a better professional but it’s okay to have a little fun with it too.
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