Most of our population uses some sort of social media, albeit for many different purposes, one of the most popular being Facebook and Twitter. Facebook can be an excellent source for networking also, although it is used on a more personal level than LinkedIn, as I discussed in my previous post. I have found a few good freelancing jobs on Facebook, as this works by word of mouth. People are looking for someone with known credentials; maybe even an urgent job in a specific area. Within a few minutes you could have a list of ideal candidates, without having to have spent a penny on advertising.
But social media sites do have their disadvantages. How many times have you posted photos, or had an angry rant at somebody, only to immediately regret it? Too late, the damage has been done. Especially with Twitter, as your posts cannot be deleted.
Prospective employers may look to your social media sites to try and gauge what sort of person you are before initial contact or interview. They want to see what your hobbies are, and what makes you tick, to see if you would be a good fit for their business. Therefore, if you are serious about your ideal job/career, you need to make sure that this is no content that would have detrimental consequences on you successfully gaining employment. Pictures of drunken behaviour, abusive language, criminal offences or heated opinions will not bode well. Remember, if you over-share information, this may come back to haunt you.
Try angling your Facebook page towards a particular role, like you would a CV or application form. If you are volunteering to try and get into a certain market, post pictures and content regarding this. You could also start a blog and link this into your Social Media sites. As I mentioned in my CV content column, it is not advisable to add a link onto a CV, but with Social Media this would be a good way to show a prospective employer your key strengths in your chosen field. It shows you are proactive, enthusiastic and serious about your chosen career.
Remember this is also the case in your current employment. Employers have been known to sack employees because of inappropriate content on the Social Media sites. There goes your job, your reference, and will show a gap in your CV as well!
It is also advisable not to post negative comments regarding your current employer. It may feel therapeutic at the time, but bad-mouthing fellow employees shows a lack of maturity and could sometimes, if names are mentioned, breach confidentiality.
But before you go and hurriedly delete your profile, stop! If employers “google” a prospective employee and find no information, this may be another disadvantage. Employers say that they are more likely to hire someone they found on Social Media that supported their job spec, qualifications and a wide range of interests, rather than someone with no online presence.
So, the golden rule is: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.