Social media can be your friend or foe. It can drain your day by making you procrastinate. Or that five-minute break scanning your friends’ accounts can boost your energy enough to keep on chugging.
It can make you envious of others’ lives. Or it can put a smile on your face when you see someone you love succeed. It can piss you off with its political commentary, or it can cheer you up with its silly memes.
Really, whether or not social media is your friend or foe all depends on how you choose to look at it. And the same goes for whether or not you cast your social platforms in a professional light.
So the question is: can social media help you get a job?
And the answer depends on how you look at it and how you use it.
If you’re someone who views social media as a mere pastime – a means by which to churn out your meandering thoughts in status form and “like” all your friends’ photos – then you probably aren’t using social media to its full advantage when it comes to your career.
But if you’re a career-oriented person, then you likely view social media in a different light. You know that it can ruin your chances at getting a job – or it can be your ace in the hole.
If you’re in the latter category we can help. Here are some do’s and don’ts to using social media to get a job.
Tip No 1 Do Get a great LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is a social media platform dedicated to working professionals. So, it makes sense to link yourself in with your friends, colleagues and other professional acquaintances. This can boost your chances at landing that job. Employers who want to know more about your professional experience will google you before you even show up to your first interview, so your first impression will be made without you even being physically present. Your digital presence is what matters. Make it a good one by putting the time into your LinkedIn profile.
Tip No 2 Don’t Post Statuses that Kill Your Career
You can curse like a sailor in your downtime, but leave that for the local pub. Your social media accounts should be appropriate, professional and clean of profanity and political views. If a hiring manager comes across your facebook status about the f^#%@^! [insert opposing political party here], he/she won’t be impressed…especially if his/her political views differ from your own.
Tip No 3 Do Keep Your Info Current
Have you held five new positions at five different companies since the last time you updated your social media profiles? Well, now’s the time to fix that. Potential employers will look for up-to-date information about your work history on your social media accounts, and if they spot any inconsistencies or inaccuracies with the application or CV you’ve sent in, they’re sure to call you out on them…if you even get an interview.
Tip No 4 Don’t Post Inappropriate Photos
Yes, that keg stand you did at your senior frat party was epic and of course you look fabulous in a bikini, but if you want potential employers to respect you and feel you’re the right fit for their company, you might want to omit inappropriate photos from your social media accounts. They’re not doing you any favors socially anyhow. Here’s how to get a great profile picture.
Tip No 5 Do Brag Tactfully
While bragging can come off pompous or narcissistic, you should toot your own horn once in a while on your LinkedIn and other social media accounts. If you’ve accomplished something unique or met a professional milestone, claim it as your own. No need to shout it from the rooftops, Kanye West-style. There’s being tactful and charming about your achievements and then there’s being just plain obnoxious. Choose the former and your hiring manager may just be impressed with all you’ve accomplished.
Tip No 6 Don’t Be Negative
The “Negative Nancy” or “Debby Downer” may be everyone’s least favorite “friend” in their newsfeed. These are the folks who post daily about their (always) bad experiences, their health, their jobs, or their negative political/social views. Negativity in any shape or form will be frowned upon by potential employers, because no one wants to hire a bad attitude. You don’t have to be “up” or a fake on your social media accounts; but you can omit the negative. As Thumper from Disney’s Bambi says, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
Tip No 7 Do Have Hobbies
One of the great advantages of social media is that you can reveal some of your hobbies which may play well to your audience (ie, your hiring manager), particularly if they like the same things as you. Do you like doing charity work? Post about your past and current projects. Play an instrument? Post some video. Any small connection you can make with your potential employer can’t hurt and may just benefit you in a big way.
Tip No 8 Don’t Overshare
Social media has made many of us – particularly those of the younger generation – a crowd of oversharers. Yes, social platforms were made to share your thoughts, feelings, life with those you love and even with strangers. But if you want social media to help you get a job, then you’ll have to be wise about what you share. Did you have a tuna sandwich for lunch? Posting about it will not win you any “likes” or any jobs. In fact, the blandness of your headline will be as bland as your lunch…and will probably annoy some people. Don’t be one of those social media accounts that are blocked by most due to their output of pointless information. Make sure your get your security settings on Facebook right.
Follow these tips, and social media can help you get a job. Don’t follow them, and you might just be overlooked by tech-savvy employers.