Thursday, March 6, 2014

Protecting and Promoting Yourself Through Social Media

Employers (Current and Future) Are Watching You

As much of a 'Big Brother' statement as this is we are living in a very technologically dependent to
get an inside look at their lives outside of work. This could ultimately make or break whether or not you get hired. A potential employee could have all of the required qualifications for a position but if their online presence shows unpredictable, unprofessional, and unreliable qualities then the job would be offered to someone else. Because of this, it is crucial that we all stay on top of our online presences by ensuring that what we post on our social media profiles is information that we don't mind future employers seeing about us. The fact of the matter is that many employers now Google candidates in order to determine whether or not they are reliable and live up to the expectations set by their resume.

And don't think that you are safe to post what you want after you have been hired. Check our this list on Business Insider which highlights 17 different individuals who were fired for content that the posted on their Facebook walls. We may feel that this is an invasion of privacy but employers can access sensitive information if you make it available in a public forum such as the internet. In the end, if posting pictures of last night's binge drinking is more important to you than keeping your job, that's ultimately your own choice.

Keepin' it Classy: Using Social Media to Promote Yourself

Don't worry, it isn't all terrible! Social media can actually be a fantastic way to promote yourself online and reach out to a world of employment opportunities. The following are some tips for ensuring that your social media presence reflects the best (not worst!) of who you are and what you have to offer.

When posting anything on Facebook and Twitter ask yourself the questions: "would I mind if a future/current employer saw this?" If the answer is "no" or you are uncertain then its highly recommended that you avoid a terrible situation and refrain from posting that content online. Instead, use Facebook and Twitter as a means of promoting your job search to your friends and behaving in a mature and dignified way. Do no engage in arguments and avoid using profane language. Your ability to compose yourself online will speak volumes to an employer. If  you have a personal or company blog then posting this information on Facebook and Twitter is also a great way to promote yourself to your social network.

LinkedIn is currently a trendy social media platform in the professional world which is designed specifically to help you promote yourself to future employers online. Set-up like an online resume, LinkedIn allows you to input your educational, work, and volunteer experiences while also highlighting projects you have been a part of and awards that you have received. Creating a LinkedIn profile is important for keeping a professional online presence since it is the ultimate way to connect with future employers and stay connected with past ones.

Customizing your online presence is especially easy through the maintenance of your own personal blog. Do you have a hobby or a skill that you think would be worth promoting to the world? Or do you (like me!) just love to write? Employers who Google you might just get the opportunity to sift through your blog if you decide to take the time to maintain your own little piece of the internet. This isn't for everyone, of course, but its still a fun way to make your presence in online world known!

Google Yourself!

Curious to see what employers have access to? Try Googling your own name to see what comes up. You might be surprised how much information about yourself is publicly available. Always ask yourself if what you see will deter or attract a future employer. The internet is amazing place to advertise yourself to a world of employment opportunities so be sure your online presence is a positive experience that properly reflects the professional side of your life. Take the time to clean up your own Google search - you'll be glad you did! If you see something you don't like at least you'll catch it before a potential employer stumbles upon it! :)

Happy Promoting!

Ashley Paolozzi, Lead Career Assistant
4th Year History of Art (Honours) 

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