Could your facebook profile make you less employable?
James Griffin is the co-founder of SR7 Social Media Intelligence, a company offering social media research, intelligence and advisory services. Here he tells us how we can effectively monitor our online presence...
1. How do you think a person’s presence online can affect their career, both positively and negatively?
Social media gives everyone the opportunity to create a positive online profile showcasing their talents, ability and passion. Done well, your online profile can become a powerful brand. Conversely, if it is not managed properly then your online presence can have significant and far reaching negative consequences.
2. How does social media affect one’s reputation?
Social media is the modern day water cooler. Often, perception can quickly become reality as photos or comments on social networks get taken out of context. Unfortunately in most instances, what we publish online is there with us forever and as our connectivity to social media increases, people are publishing more without adequate prior thought.
3. It is now becoming general practice by employers to check an applicants’ digital presence as part of the selection process. Do you think that your digital footprint has become just as important as a CV?
Absolutely. It should be a priority of every jobseeker to address any liabilities they have in their digital footprint. The digital footprint often tells the story “behind” the resume. The fact that it can give the recruiter a good insight into “who you are” makes it extremely important to ensure you are managing it effectively.
4. How can you use social media sites to your advantage professionally?
Having a well written and up to date profile on LinkedIn is a good first step. Investing some time into Twitter, even if you just follow key influencers in your industry or people you enjoy hearing, is a good way to dip your toe in the water. A good Twitter profile will have an acceptable, non-offensive profile picture, a decent bio and some activity from day to day.
5. How can we monitor our presence online?
Managing your ‘digital footprint’ in 2012 should be a priority. Taking steps to ensure your online profile reflects you in a positive light is no longer the exclusive domain of celebrities and high profile individuals. That said, in this hyper-connected world ‘online reputation management’ is big business with some celebrities paying up to $10,000 per month to keep their online reputation intact.
For us mortals however, there are free and extremely effective ways to manage your online profile.
1. While it is fairly obvious, the best way to keep out of trouble online is to consider what you type, tweet, post and update. However, this would make for a fairly boring online existence! The complication is that social media has blurred the lines of our private and professional lives resulting in a collision between “after hours” behaviour and the person we are in the workplace.
2. Google yourself (don’t forget images, videos, Facebook and Twitter). Is your current digital reputation an asset or a liability? What would your mum think? Google has some very powerful ‘advanced search’ capabilities, for instance, to provide specific results put “” around your name or “” + “”to include one search term combined with another. Once you know what’s out there, you have somewhere to start.
3. Remove ‘Tags’ of yourself from any photos on Facebook that may be a risk. Unfortunately, some of your friends may not have the greatest privacy settings, to combat this ask your Facebook settings to provide you with an alert so you can approve photos you are in.
4. ‘If you can’t delete then you’ve got to compete’. Having an active online presence is the best defence against embarrassing material finding its way to the surface. There are a four key social media platforms that I would recommend people consider using.
Obviously you should quarantine your personal Facebook profile from the workplace corporate Facebook Page and a LinkedIn profile should be for strictly professional use. A great way to increase your online profile in a positive manner is to start a Tumblr account. These are similar to a Blog however heavily focussed on images and don’t require as much maintenance as a typical Blog. Finally, the star social media platform of 2012 will certainly be Twitter. But the immediacy of it could land some people in trouble, so be sure to “think before you tweet”.
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