Google yourself. Right now. What comes up? We bet if not all, then at least one of your social media profiles is staring back at you.
How to Ensure Your Social Media Platforms Work for You, Not Against You
Even though most employers take a CV at face value and may avoid Googling applicants – what would you do?! You can’t be too sure that curiosity won’t take over. Sometimes a hiring manager wants to see your LinkedIn recommendations or even mutual connections, other times they might just want to put a face to a name before you show-up for an interview. You should never underestimate the power of social media and what your profiles are saying about you to future employers.
Here are some quick wins to get your social media platforms looking professional, so they work for you not against you. Remember, you never know who may be looking!
Review your profile picture
They say a picture paints a thousand words, so let’s start with your LinkedIn profile image. This platform was built for networking and should be approached with that in mind. How would you turn up to an interview? We think this is what your profile picture should look like.
You can show you’re a veteran (if you think this is important) without an image of you in your webbing or on board ship. Is it wise to have a profile shot of you in your uniform at all for that matter? Again, it depends on the type of role you want, or the type of organisation you’d like to work in. We asked Garrath a veteran and our Director of Veteran Engagement & Development what he thought about people who chose to be in uniform on their LinkedIn profile;
“I don’t get it! If you’re still in it won’t help you impress the promotions board,
if you’re getting out it may not give the forward-looking impression you need.
Be proud of course, but be sensible too!”
Rule out images of you that are pixelated, have a busy background, were taken in 1999 or a group shot and you’ve cropped yourself out. Also, anything that is professionally inappropriate Go for a head and shoulders portrait shot that you would submit alongside your CV if you had to.
When reviewing other profile pictures, like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, you needn’t go for something overtly professional as the platforms are more geared towards connecting with your inner circle as opposed to employers, but still look at them with your professional hat on.
Adjust your privacy settings
The easiest way to employer-proof your profiles is to adjust your privacy settings on each platform. If you don’t want your boss or future boss, to know what you were up to last weekend (or 10 years ago!) on Facebook, then simply adjust your settings so that your information is reserved for connections only.
Ask for recommendations
Of course you will talk yourself up on a CV, your cover letter and your bio, but the word of a third-party can add authority to your claims. Reach out to your old teams on LinkedIn and request a recommendation to add an extra voice to your profile - they act as powerful references that may give you the edge over the competition.
Do a digital cleanse
Most of us can’t remember a world before social media - which must mean we have accumulated a lot of content on our profiles. If you have open, public profiles, then it may worth spending some time untagging yourself from content you no longer want to be affiliated with or deleting or archiving updates that do not represent you in the best light. We’re talking tweets, pictures, posts, the lot.
Add keywords to your LinkedIn profile
If you’ve done any CV workshops then you’ll know that people are likely to scan bulky sections of text and look for keywords. Some employers even use software that does the scanning on their behalf. The same goes for your LinkedIn profile, but with the added feature that on LinkedIn recruiters and employers will be searching via keywords - in the same way that you search via keywords on google.