By Thomas McHardy, Assistant Account Executive, Affect Strategies
As the crowd at this Social Media Week event settled into our seats the moderator asked two simple questions.
Only a handful of people raised their hands to the second question, illustrating the idea that although most people are active on social networks, not nearly enough of us are using them appropriately for professional purposes.
Over the next hour and a half the panel, which consisted of HR professionals and recruiters from various companies, provided attendees with numerous tips and tools to help them stand out among the millions of other people on the various platforms – mainly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Although much was discussed, the main takeaways from the event can be summed up into a few key points.
- Use your online profile as an online résumé: Update your profile to highlight your most recent work and accomplishments, don’t post questionable material, and highlight contacts that are relevant for your industry
- Highlight a point of reference: Do this whenever reaching out to a company, as it’s an opportunity to quickly inform them of how you can help their company, or why they would benefit from helping you
- Remain active in your networks: Using social media as a professional tool boils down to a numbers game. You need to remain active and on target in order to stand out among your competitors
- Don’t forget to be courteous: Take the time to send emails thanking anyone that helps you along the way – even if it didn’t work out as you had hoped. Doing this will make them more likely to look to you when future positions open up
Every panelist stressed the idea that everyone, whether you’re looking for a job or not, should be active on social media to build their personal brand. Interacting with groups and influencers in your industry is an easy way to establish and build credibility with your online presence.
If you’re not seeking to become more active professionally on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter but are still concerned with maintaining a credible online presence, Margaret Davidson of Vault.com provided four easy tips to ensure your profiles aren’t working against you. These tips include:
- Hide your pictures: It’s not necessary to delete or un-tag every picture you’re in, but you should make sure that they’re hidden from public view
- Police your wall: If you have friends that post questionable material on your wall, delete it
- Keep your beliefs to yourself: Don’t go out of your way to publicise any beliefs (religious, political, etc.) that may offend people in your social networks
- Check your company’s social media policy: You should do this whenever you get a new job to make sure your activity won’t be punishable by your company
These are all easy steps we can take to help ensure our online presence will be an asset and not a hindrance for our careers, both now and in the future. Now that you know what to look for, is your online presence working for or against you?