Social networks are a vital tool for job-hunters and part of most people’s leisure time activities. It’s important to recognise that it’s not always possible to separate the two – and what you do online can seriously compromise your career.
Your online reputation. What you do online becomes part of you – part of your online reputation. It’s easily researched and hard to erase. When posting online, even socially, keep in mind how others will feel about those comments – both now and down the line. Avoid aggression, negativity and controversy. Remember that what you say now can later be taken out of context.
Keep what’s personal, personal and what’s professional, professional. Professional tools such as LinkedIn can be extremely valuable. But remember to always treat it as a professional tool, your personal advertisement to the working world. Keep it up-to-date, but avoid social updates or anything contentious. Made sure that your ‘personal’ social networks are set to private, so your posts can’t be found by someone researching you for employment. It can also make sense to avoid friend requests from superiors or even colleagues – it only takes one slip for someone to share a picture or update you’d rather have kept private.
Take advantage of social media. Setting the dangers to one side, social media is a powerful ally for today’s workers. You can use LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social networks to research potential employers, for example. They offer great insight into how organisations work, communicate and think – and keep you up-to-date with what’s important to them. Both Twitter and LinkedIn provide great tools for you to build your own social profile – so that when you are, inevitably, researched online, what potential employers find is what you want them to find.