This post originally appeared in April edition of The Brief
There was a time when a new career or change of job was a chance to completely reinvent yourself. If you’ve grown up on social media, you don’t have that luxury. Social media is a public forum. All of your social media platforms provide an instant portrait of who you are and what you are about. Although a terrifying prospect, you can use this to your advantage. To be on the safe side, think of LinkedIn as your job interview, Twitter as your regular office conduct and Facebook as not unlike your office party. …
1. How do you look?
Make sure your social media is an accurate reflection. Take a look through your previous posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. You don’t have to be squeaky clean but if every post in the last 12 months is of you drinking tequila on a Wednesday, or how much you hate your job, delete a few and replace them with your charity work.
2. For goodness sake check your Facebook settings
Sounds obvious but you’d be surprised…. There’s a feature on Facebook under the ‘Who Can See My Stuff’ privacy settings called ‘What Can Other People See On My Timeline’. Use it, and retrospectively make everything ‘friends only’, if necessary.
3. Make sure your Twitter feed looks intelligent
Following Justin Bieber is fine (well maybe not) but… show you are also engaged with conversation and discussion. It’s often clear to see your politics, your sense of humour, your hobbies and interests. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as you are intelligent and respectful.
4. Get a decent email address
It’s worth getting yourself a ‘professional’ personal email address which is separate from the one you’ve had for years. Even if your accounts are anonymous, you can be discovered through your registered email address. I learnt this when I realised someone in my Gmail contacts was behind an anonymous Twitter account detailing his acrimonious divorce!
5. Linked In is your perpetually updated CV
It is essentially a permanent job application. Make sure your profile is up to date with a professional looking photo (no pub snaps) and change your headline to accurately reflect your skills, rather than your current position. Follow companies, join groups and have a varied and professional network in order to prove you are good at making and maintaining connections
6. Keep things up to date
Nothing tells an employer that you are looking for work more than a flurry of polished LinkedIn activity – so keep updates frequent to stay below the radar.
7. Connect with everyone and keep in touch
If someone gives you a business card, connect with them on LinkedIn – you never know when you might need them. Interact, like their updates and share their posts, rather than passively reading.
8. Share your projects & aspirations
If you’re worried about portraying who you are, concentrate on who you want to be.
9. Don’t be afraid to turn people down
You do not have to be friends with your clients, work colleagues or employer on Facebook. There is nothing wrong with declining requests to maintain some semblance of a private life. People will respect you for it (or spend hours speculating what you actually get up to!).
10. There really is no need to share everything
Whatever your privacy settings, whatever your anonymity, just remember that everything you have ever posted is published publicly and your are accountable for it. If in doubt, keep it to yourself.
Are you worried about professional contacts discovering your private social media feeds? Feel free to add your own view and handy hints.