Having a professional and well thought out personal brand is an extremely important component of any job search. Part of your personal brand is your social media profile. In fact, social media is even more important than you may realize, with 92% of companies relying on it in hiring. It’s likely the first place a hiring manager or prospective boss will look, so it’s crucial you put your best foot forward.
5 tips on improving your social media presence
To follow are a few tips and tricks to help you clean up your social media presence and attract the right companies looking to hire.
1. Use a professional headshot
A professional-looking headshot – one that wasn’t taken in the front seat of your car or on a night out with friends – is one of the most important aspects of your personal brand. Your profile photo should convey the image you want to express. We know not everyone has the resources to hire a professional photographer to capture your best side, especially during times like these. However, it’s possible to take the perfect DIY headshot in the comfort of your own home. Don’t forget to dress to impress, so you look polished and professional and experiment with various poses and clothing to capture a professional-looking photo.
2. Join relevant career groups
Make the most out of social media and find groups that connect you to like-minded individuals, companies, or industries you’re interested in working in. LinkedIn offers LinkedIn Groups as an excellent resource to stay current on trends in your industry, expand your professional network, and according to Forbes, even help you land a job. The secret is to not only join, but participate in conversations. Add a thoughtful comment to an article other group members share, or share articles and tips you found helpful to generate discussion and engagement.
3. Keep it professional
This advice is worth repeating: nothing is private online. When you’re job hunting, it’s vital you keep your social media accounts squeaky clean and professional. The last thing you want is a potential employer to see photos of you partying with friends at a cottage or bemoaning an epic hangover on Twitter. Other things to consider are posts about illicit drug use, ones of a sexual nature, or opinions that could be deemed prejudice against others. Unless accounts are locked down for friends only, edit your social media profiles and delete any posts or photos that you wouldn’t want a future boss to see. Because a hiring manager is going to comb your social media presence before taking it to the interview stage. In fact, 1 out of 3 employers rejects candidates outright based on their social media profile.
4. Connect with the right people
There’s nothing wrong with adding former school friends, or former flames, on Snapchat or Instagram. However, when it comes to building your social media presence professionally, develop a strategy of connecting with others related to your career interests or who are in a similar industry. Think of it as an extension of networking – only digitally, not in a roomful of people. In some industries, such as public relations or sales, demonstrating industry connections on a platform like LinkedIn is a real bonus. LinkedIn is also the perfect social media platform to help you land a job.
5. Use social media to your advantage
Many of us are now expressing ourselves online, whether it’s keeping a blog, sharing photography, or their artwork. Harness the power of social media to showcase your talents and creativity, such as Instagram. It could just be the thing that attracts the eye of a hiring manager. If there’s an industry you want to work, dive in, and start to connect with others on Twitter or Instagram. Follow hashtags relevant to your career goals or industry and join in the conversations. At the same time, use the company’s social media channels as a resource. Forty-five per cent of Fortune 500 companies include links to their social media on their careers page. By following corporate accounts, you could learn more about their recent achievements and company culture. This is all useful information to incorporate into your cover letter or during an interview. It shows you’ve done your homework.
The power of social media and digital space can also be incredibly rewarding. Following accounts you’re passionate about and sharing your personality can equally help you land the job.
1 Songqi Liu, Jason L. Huang, & Mo Wang (2014). Effectiveness of Job Search Interventions: A Meta-Analytic Review. Psychological Bulletin, 140, 1009-1041.
This article offers general information only and is not intended as legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. While the information presented is believed to be factual and current, its accuracy is not guaranteed and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author(s) as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or its affiliates.