Building your Social Media Presence: To Social Media or not to Social Media? That is the question.
Welcome to 2014, the age when maintain a social media profile is almost expected. As a New Zealand recruiter, candidates often ask us our opinion of social media and if it’s needed. Now, understand that this question is more complicated than it appears to be. I’ve outlined some common questions below and our thoughts on social media.
Do I need social media?
The short answer is no. We can often place candidates who do not use social media, but the truth is employers want to see this. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allow employers to get a glimpse of who you are outside the confines of your CV, cover letter, or interview. We all want to be that candidate who stands out from the crowd and social media can help with this. Not only will it give employers a little insight into your personal life, but it can also be a great way to showcase your computer skills and creativity.
What social media profiles do I need?
This question is hard because there are so many options and trying to maintain anymore than three different social media outlets can seem like a full-time job. However, this shouldn’t seem like a daunting task. We always recommend building a LinkedIn profile, as this is something most employers expect. Beyond that, we recommend to just pick one. As Facebook is a household name, we usually recommend this as a second. Not only can it help you land a job, but also it can be a great way to stay in touch with family and friends!
Can social media hurt my job search?
I first created my Facebook profile when it was required to have a university email address. Yes, that was a previous requirement to Facebook. At that time, we never imagined what an impact it would have our future – for better and worse. We posted every picture we took, talked about all the mischievous things we did as University students, and the idea of making this information private never crossed our minds.
Now let me tell you a story – A friend I knew, lets call him John, was applying to be a fire fighter. He had passed all the tests, completed the exams, and was in the final stages of interviewing. When his interviewer asked his opinion on the police, John answered with a respect for their authority and the importance of working together. Not a moment later, the interviewer handed John a photo. It was John, in his early teens, standing on the hood of a parked cop car holding out that oh-too-common middle finger. This photo was more than 10 years old and had been removed from Facebook years ago. Despite his attempt to explain the situation, John did not get the job.
Now lets return to the original question, can social media hurt a job search? Yes, absolutely. Social media should be thought of as a public space. Future employers can find any pictures or post, even after they have been taken down. Post appropriate picture and updates.
What if I don’t want employers seeing my social media profiles?
This is more common than most people think and I can easily understand why. We work hard everyday, we don’t want the pictures and post we share to be judged by current or potential employers. Luckily, there are a few tips for avoiding this. First, make sure all your settings are private. As setting are constantly updated by companies, we recommend to check these every 6 months or so. It can also help to not use your full name on your social media. For example, my Facebook profile only shows my first and middle name. Employers will have a hard time searching for me if they can’t find my last name. We even know a few people who keep two separate profiles; one for their personal life and one that can is more for co-workers and other acquaintances.
How do I know what my employers would see?
This is simple – Google yourself. Unless you’re entering a high security or government related job, most employers won’t go any further than searching for a candidates name on Google. If you find any negative information, try to have it removed as soon as possible.
We hope this information is helpful but we know how big of a task managing your social media can be. If you need further help, please give us a call and see who we can help.