Tech Tip Tuesday: What Does Your Social Media Say About You?

Your social media profiles say a lot about you to prospective employers. Find out how to put your best foot forward at TBW's Dec. 7 workshop on creating and improving your personal brand.Have you taken a good, hard look at your social media profiles recently? Does your Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profile convey the “you” that you want prospective or current employers or customers to see?

When you start to Google the phrase “How many employers…” the first auto-complete phrase that comes up is “…look at social media,” and the answer may surprise you. According to a recent article in Forbes, 37% of employers are using social media to screen prospective applicants. CareerBuilder says that 65% of employers who use social media for screening do so “…to see if the job seeker presents himself or herself professionally.”

In an ideal world our work and personal lives would be separate, but today that’s no longer possible, and the personal things we post on our social media profiles could raise red flags for prospective employers or clients. In the CareerBuilder survey, 34% of employers said they found content that caused them not to hire a potential candidate. Reasons for not hiring included:

  • provocative or inappropriate photos
  • evidence of drinking or drug use
  • evidence of poor communication skills
  • bad-mouthing a former employer
  • discriminatory comments
  • lying about qualifications

If you were to take a long, honest look at your social media profiles today with the eyes of a prospective employer or client, what would you see?

Furthermore, if you’re actively using social media to find a job or prospective clients, are you doing it on the right platforms? LinkedIn is definitely the place to be if you’re job or client searching, but you have to be certain your profile is complete and targeted. Facebook and Twitter can be key, especially if you spend some of your time there connecting with other people in your field and sharing your expertise. If you’re a business owner, Facebook and Twitter both can be important additions to your marketing plan, provided you’re consistent with your branding and interactions.

There are easy ways to improve your personal and professional brand online if you’re feeling a bit anxious about what you see. One quick way is to check your privacy settings, especially if you’re using Facebook exclusively for personal interactions. You can easily determine what people who aren’t your friends (or friends of friends) can see. LinkedIn also offers many options to control your privacy, and while you’re job or client hunting you may want to relax your privacy restrictions. Twitter, alas, has few privacy options, apart from creating a locked account.

Being active on social media can be both a blessing and a curse, but increasingly it’s becoming a key driver in our professional lives and learning to make the most of it can be incredibly beneficial to our careers.

Do you want to learn more about how to make your personal brand shine? Register for TBW’s one-day workshop on December 7 focused on helping you to create and improve your personal brand, both online and off.