You head home from school, stressed about your 16 page research paper. You open your laptop, type in Facebook, and begin to rant about your stress, irritation, and anger in a status. We have all done this. However, during your irrational moment of self pity, you should think twice before clicking the “send” button. Potential employers don’t have time to read whiny statuses about your responsibilities, and if you trash your current job or school duties, then what makes them think you won’t trash them, if hired?
You have heard it before: what you put online can potentially be there forever. This reminds us that the way in which we represent ourselves in the online world is important to our potential careers and goals. Even when photos, status updates, and links are deleted from the internet, they often are connected elsewhere online and may resurface at just the right (or wrong) moment.
Your Résumé is Enhanced by Your Online Presence
Your résumé no longer solely speaks for your professionalism, education, and experience. Enhancing your online persona will heighten your chances of landing your dream job. As you already know, the internet is growing into part of our everyday lives. Companies don’t just want to know what you look like on paper; they want to know what you look like in your everyday life. Hiring managers want to see personality, responsibility, leadership, and good decision making skills when they “stumble” upon your social networking pages.
What Happens without Maintaining a Meticulous Image?
Let’s be honest here: information we put online can come back to haunt us; just ask Anthony Weiner, a New York politician in the midst of an infidelity scandal case and an oncoming election. T o keep things short, he sent inappropriate text messages and private messages to several young ladies on his cell phone, and on social media. Unfortunately for him, New York City will never forget this detail.
Paint a Pretty Self Portrait
We live in a world in which first impressions are crucial; our image can make or break us. To avoid embarrassment, angry bosses, and unemployment, always maintain a professional appearance. This includes personal websites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! Don’t let hiring managers make assumptions about you based on those college party photos you were tagged in years ago. Instead, brand yourself through social media.
Get Involved with LinkedIn—Immediately
LinkedIn is one of the top professional social media resources used by companies, managers, students, and professionals alike. Whether currently employed or unemployed, crafting an impressive LinkedIn profile is a key component to present and future success. Perfecting your LinkedIn profile takes more than posting a luring résumé. Users should fill out the summary and interests sections. You have a chance to show your creativity and personality: take it!
Networking on LinkedIn
As for networking, LinkedIn is an excellent tool. It’s even in the name! LinkedIn helps users link up with others. Guests have the ability to contact professionals with whom, under other circumstances, they would not have connected.
Meet Like-Minded Professionals in Groups
LinkedIn users should utilize the “group” feature of the website. Joining groups in your field of expertise and interest can help you connect with others around the globe that are interested in similar topics.
Your Connections are More Than a Number
Do not think of your connections as simply networking opportunities. You can learn from your connections. With LinkedIn, you can study what your connections are researching, see what others are writing about, and understand what the competition has to offer. If you are lucky enough to make a connection with someone who is willing to give you advice, then you will have an edge over others with your same credentials.
My LinkedIn is Set-Up—What Else is There?
Most young professionals have a Twitter account or Facebook account. Use these social networking sites to your advantage. US News writes, “Use every network that makes sense for you. Don’t limit yourself to ‘professional’ social networks. As SHRM research notes, employers are not only looking at LinkedIn. ‘At a minimum, most companies today use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to reach job seekers’” (Salpeter). Realize that, while the other sites are primarily for socializing, they are useful for networking as well.
US News suggests getting involved with industry chats on Twitter. “Look for chats that revolve around your industry, or better yet, the industry you want to work in. Joining online conversations helps you keep up-to-date on the industry, meet helpful contacts, and showcase your expertise in your field. You may also want to network with other job seekers through weekly conversations like #jobhuntchat or #careerchat” (Grant). Just when you had written off Twitter as a potential networking avenue, you realize that it is more useful than it seems!
Facebook: Be Transparent
The job hunt is no time to let your pride shine. Don’t be too embarrassed to admit you are on the job hunt. US News suggests letting your friends know that you are looking for a job, including the type of job you desire. While, your friends and family might not immediately know of any openings, they will likely think of you if a position opens! This enables your Facebook connections to help you network. Opportunities may arise where you least expect.
Privacy is Underrated
Manage your online image by picking and choosing which statuses and photos are made public. While your friends and family might be interested in seeing your beach photos, a potential employer may not care to sort through these updates as they learn about you.
Social media is a great avenue for introverts to build professional contacts. While meeting professionals at a job fair might sounds intimidating, contacting professionals via the web can be less stressful. There is time to craft and perfect résumés, emails, and responses while hiding behind the screen’s safety net.
Social networking is a tricky business, but today’s up and coming professionals should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining their pages. Properly maintaining online image is crucial to success in today’s market.
For More Help
If you need help finding the perfect career, Florida National University students should visit the Job Placement Center. If you are not an FNU student, apply today! You will have access to this resource, along with others that are available to our students and alumni, daily.
Grant, Alexis. “10 Smart Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search.” US News. US News, 3 Dec. 2010. Web. 13 May 2014.
Salpeter, Miriam. “How to Use Social Media to Land a Job.” US News. US News, 16 Apr. 2014. Web. 13 May 2014.