Is your social media reflective of your ‘brand’?

Apparently, as many as 60% of employers screen the social media profiles of candidates as part of their recruitment process.  Even if this is only done on an informal basis, employers, in a survey by careerbuilder.com, have cited that information seen on social media has resulted in an otherwise worthy candidate not being appointed (in a whopping 49% of cases, in fact).

Unsurprisingly, it’s hiring managers in the IT sector (76%) that are most likely to check the social media accounts of potential new recruits, followed by financial services and sales in 2nd and 3rd place.

The (hopefully) obvious no-no’s include references to drug use or excessive drinking; negative comments about previous employers; discriminatory comments; and inappropriate imagery.

You could be foolish and convince yourself that what you do in your own time is none of your employer’s (or potential employers’) business – but if you’ve put the information out into the public arena, then it’s theirs for the seeing….

As well as these areas to avoid – perhaps by adopting the mantra ‘if I wouldn’t want my grandmother to read it, then I’m not posting it’ – there are some other subtleties that you should be aware of that can potentially affect your reputation with current and potential employers.

  1. Be consistent and authentic

Maybe you’ve bragged in your CV that you enjoy 19th century Russian literature and that you can’t get through the day without reading the FT… so make sure your social media posts reflect that (or simply don’t say things that aren’t true…). If you post instead about Fifty Shades of Grey and the ‘Sidebar of Shame’ you’re going to look phony, which is not a good reputation to have.

On a positive note if your ‘personal brand’ on social media is consistent with how you’ve presented yourself during the recruitment process then it can give the potential employer the reassurance they need that you will be a good fit for the company’s culture.

  1. Be mindful

Maybe your current role allows you to manage your time as you wish, and you’ve built up a great working relationship where each understands the other and their ‘style’ inside and out. BUT, remember that future employers do not know that you work like a finely tuned machine in the afternoon if only you can zone out and watch an episode of The Walking Dead on your iPad at 3pm. ‘Love my job, watching #TheWalkingDead in the office before getting back to the grind’ might be a casual, slight brag of a Tweet aimed at making your friends jealous – but what will the hiring manager at your next job think?

Part of the allure of Twitter in particular is that you can engage in debate with people from all over the World. You’re entitled to your opinion of course, but be careful to conduct yourself in a dignified manner.

  1. Be correct

In many a job spec for roles at all career levels, communication skills are cited as an essential criteria that the successful candidate will possess. Keeping this in mind, don’t jeopardise your personal brand by posting on social media with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors.

Even if writing (aside from internal emails) isn’t part of the role, you risk being perceived as sloppy. No one wants to be perceived as sloppy – just as you’d turn up to an interview in your smartest suit and polished shoes, watch your social posting. You wouldn’t dream of turning up to an interview with a hole in your jacket or with muddy trainers because of the image this projects - spelling mistakes and poor grammar as the social media equivalents!

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