It’s no secret that your tweets and Facebook profile can come back to haunt you during your job hunt. Whatever you type on the internet should be considered as carefully as the words that come out of your mouth. One poorly considered remark can literally cost you your job, and maybe your career — just look at pro baseball manager Ozzie Guillén, who was fired by the Miami Marlins in October over a careless pro-Castro statement he made.
We’ve all heard what NOT to put on Facebook and Twitter over and over; drunken party pictures will not help you get hired at a law firm. In this day and age, it’s probably a good idea to avoid politics and potentially divisive social issues as well. Of course, you can always adjust your privacy settings on Facebook, but then how do you react when your potential new boss sends you a friend request? Do you spend the whole day digging into your timeline to clean up any hint of your wild college days (and subsequent reunions)?
You’re far better off making everything public. If there’s junk to clean out, take the time to do it. From now on, your social media profiles should scream ‘fine upstanding citizen’ at every turn. And if you do still get a little crazy on the weekends, go ahead and adjust your settings so that any photographs must be approved by you before they appear on your profile.
With everything you shouldn’t post out of the way, start thinking about what you do want to convey. Start with what’s on your resume. How can you convey the same list of accomplishments on your personal one sheet in the form of a Google+ or Facebook profile? Don’t overlook the importance of that — in many cases, an employer may actually spend more time examining your Facebook page or Twitter feed then they will looking through your resume. To ensure that what they find only helps your case for a job, look for this checklist of items in your social media profiles:
Pictures of Family
If you’re married and have children, this occurs automatically. Once we settle down, our Facebook profiles are little more than baby pictures and first steps. But if you’re a 20-something fresh out of school, put on a nice shirt and take some happy shots with Mom for your profile. The appearance of a strong emphasis on family can demonstrate to employers that you value close relationships, and that the people who know you best have genuine respect for you.
Highlight Charitable Work
Volunteering can help you get a job. When you’re willing to give your time and effort to a cause you care about, it shows that you’re a hard worker and securing a paycheck isn’t your sole motivation in life. There’s nothing wrong with highlighting your charitable outreach — when you’re helping others, allow that to help you, as well. A photograph of you building a Habitat for Humanity house or a tweet about your work at the local animal shelter can work wonders to demonstrate your community-minded attitude. That’s an asset to any business.
Be Health Minded
Healthy employees save a company money, both on the overall cost of health insurance plans and higher productivity levels (and less sick days). If you’re a runner, get the word out about your progress whittling down your 10K race time. Are you an aspiring yogi? Tweet about the retreat you’re headed to next week. Of course, you don’t want to let any one activity dominate your profile — be fit, happy, and well-rounded.
Don’t Hide Your Hobbies
You never know — your love of flying kites could end up being the ice breaker in your interview. If you’re passionate about something, let it show. And you never know when a potential employer will share your interest, giving you that extra edge over a competitor for a position.
These ideas are just the start. If you’re proud of your college, make a point to tweet or pin stories about research being conducted there or accolades they receive. Did you study abroad in South Africa? Don’t hesitate to reference your experience there in comments on the current news stories coming out of the country.
Keep every post positive. If you complain on Twitter and Facebook, you will probably complain at work.
With your new attitude and glowing profile pages ready to go, it’s time to make social media your ally. Less than 50 percent of Facebook users are using their profile for career gain, so you’re already at an advantage. The numbers are even weaker for LinkedIn (surprisingly) and Twitter.
For most people, the biggest challenge when perfecting a social media resume is giving up the outdated idea that your Facebook profile or Pinterest page are still personal to you and your friends. Unless you set the highest privacy standards (not recommended — you’ll give the impression that you’re hiding something), anyone can look at the bulk of your pages.
Remember that this is a good thing! When someone searches your name, your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles will likely be high ranking hits, and you want prospective employers to click through them and explore at will, because what they find will impress them and convince them that you are a person they want to work with.
Marketing Director Thomas Ford of www.123Print.com leads a team offering high quality customizable items like business cards, letterhead, banners, yard signs and other promotional printing materials for small businesses and solo practitioners.
Photo credit: Gigi Ibrahim