Today’s job seekers are advised that social media sites and on-line networking are valuable tools for professional advancement. But much like a poorly written cover letter or résumé can do more harm than good, a badly managed on-line presence can hurt you professionally. The question remains: How do you optimize your chances of success in the virtual business world?
First of all, blend the social you and the professional you with great caution. LinkedIn now features sections where you can link your Facebook and Twitter account to your profile. While many seem to think this is a great way to show your personality to a potential employer, it is NOT recommended to connect your LinkedIn profile to a site you use to express yourself freely.
Even if you don’t have drunken debauchery filled weekends where pictures of you could arise, there are plenty of thoughts, comments, and interests your boss does not need to know about you. If you want to keep these spaces free for your personal expression, eliminate the possibility of errors by not connecting them to a professional site, just saying.
Be aware that even if you do not connect your Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace account to your LinkedIn profile, your employer still can search for you. Therefore, check your privacy settings. To spell it out: While your LinkedIn settings should be set for the most open access, your personal websites should not. Make sure whatever an employer can access when they search for your name will depict you in a professional, positive light.
One suggestion to mitigate these concerns might be to create a second Facebook account for professional, semi-casual contacts. If that is the case, manage your friends list well and make sure no one on it would tag you in a Spring Break video from 2011 that you swore no one saved.
When it comes to connecting a Twitter account to your LinkedIn profile, make sure your tweets are professional and non-confrontational. If it isn’t proper to discuss a topic at your office, it isn’t a good idea to tweet about it.
You probably already realize it’s a bad idea to tweet about the hot waitress serving you lunch or the stud-muffin you hooked up with at two in the morning. But also know you might want to avoid tweeting about strong dislike of people who belong to certain religious or political affiliations or your opinion about controversial subjects. Yes, this is the land of free speech but that doesn’t mean speech is consequence free.
While the digital age is fantastic, one thing old fashion forms of communication afforded you was the chance to think twice. You might write the letter – but you had the chance to throw it away before you mailed it! Remember that what you put on-line in an instant can be accessed by the wrong person before you have the opportunity to remove it.
By constantly considering what you put on the Internet from the point of view of a hiring authority, you can make your on-line presence a boost to your career rather than a stumbling block.
If you would like additional information about developing an introductory letter or assistance in any other career-related manner, don’t hesitate to reach out and send your request through the comment section. If preferred, email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us at Amazon.com (search Huffman at ecs).
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Got Twitter? Follow me @DannyatECS