Branding Yourself for the Job Search: Social Media

If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance that you came across this posting via some sort of social media outlet. In fact, this blog was published on LinkedIn. I have said this previously, and will say it again- social media is awesome. Granted, I am a millennial.  However, there is a reason that every major corporation has a Facebook page. Or a Twitter account. Or why they choose to post their job openings on LinkedIn. Social media works. Social media allows a company to market itself quickly, efficiently and for free.

In fact, social media lends itself as the perfect marketing tool. Everyone has social media. With that being said, your social media accounts are a reflection of you and are an extension of your “brand.” This is vital information for jobseekers because social media also happens to be the cheapest background check option for employers. If you are applying for a job, your prospective employer will search for you on Facebook. Therefore, these branding tips below should help you get your social media accounts “job search ready.”

1. Social Media is not yours- It is easy to think that your profile is yours. It is easy to think that your information is yours. It is not. There are privacy settings and there are ways to make your social media accounts completely private. However, most of us are not going to choose that option- let alone be able to find it embedded within the privacy policy. Furthermore, if you are from a small town, you should know better than anyone that everyone knows someone. You will always be a “friend of a friend-” and depending on how many of those you share, you are even more vulnerable.

2. Your employer is not your “friend”- not now, not ever. Your employer is your employer. Your coworkers are your coworkers. Do not mix the two. Just because you know someone that is also on Facebook, does not mean that you need to “friend” them. Everyone is on Facebook. I have actually seen unemployment cases as a result of arguments that transpired on Facebook. If you do wish to maintain a solid contact with an employer, please choose LinkedIn.

3. #ThatKegStandTho- Everyone has those pictures. Especially younger people. I had those pictures and am not making any suggestion to say that I was perfect throughout my college years. It was fun. It was epic. It was a great time. It’s over. When it comes to job searching, you are really hurting yourself when you leave yourself tagged in pictures of yourself doing a keg stand. Or drinking at all. It is also worthy of noting that IOS photos, or any mobile uploads will show up in a search.

4. Radio edit your posts- We all have that one friend. You know which friend I am talking about. Every day, you scroll through your newsfeed to find another one of their posts that is in all caps and contains at least one or two explicit words. We all read those posts. We are all probably pretty amused by those posts. However, your employer is also reading that post and they are not amused. They are too busy reliving their workplace violence training or planning their court deposition. Also, do not get caught up in “twitter wars” or any type of dispute between another user. This includes arguments about politics, religion, or your favorite sports team!

5. The “I did something completely normal today” posts- I love that you love your cat. And I should hope that you fed your cat today. However, when you are looking for a job and you are posting updates about day-to-day activities,  your future employer is wondering what you are doing. Time management is a big deal and if you happen to be in an unfortunate situation where you are between jobs, your next employer will wonder how you managed your time off. Instead, take some free job searching seminars or webinars and post something about those conversations. Or, improve your skills through a certification and check in upon arrival to the instructional facility.

Additionally, if you are employed and you are posting cat memes during the time you are supposedly at work,  your employer will question your productivity levels and how you will behave in their workplace. A simple solution to avoid this is to not post anything during working hours if you are employed. I would just say stay off of social media during those hours, but everyone also has an iPhone.

6. Use your social media to your advantage- Social media is about marketing, right? So use this to your advantage. Change your profile picture to a picture of yourself in a professional setting. Or, one in which you are at least comfortable sharing with your grandmother. List your places of employment and post pictures of your community involvement. Share positive news and quotes. Get a LinkedIn account if you do not already have one and use that link on your resume. You can also job search using social media. I know a lot of recruiters (including myself) that hashtag their jobs so that if a jobseeker types in a word and searches, our jobs will pop up.

I hope that these tips give you the necessary guidance to adapt to today’s job seeking market. I also hope that this information provides a different perspective in how you use your social media and how you brand yourself. Remember, social media is a wonderful tool, but like any other, it requires the proper use.