Think you know how to use social media? I’m sure you do; I can see you scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed, watching funny cat videos, and stumbling upon articles that pique your interest. Since you’re on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter anyways, why not do a couple of things that can help you jumpstart your career? Here are eight things that you can do today to make yourself a better candidate, whether you’re an employee or a manager.
The importance of creating a strong digital identity (or e-reputation) on social media
It’s no secret — employers are now spending as much time on social media platforms as candidates are, but not always for the same reasons. If recruiters are regularly browsing LinkedIn or Twitter, it’s generally to post job offers and to find that coveted rare pearl: the perfect candidate.
Be careful, because recruiters may even visit your Facebook profile as they search for information on who you are, both before and after an interview.
Of course, it’s up to you whether to consider your Facebook profile as a “personal” social media platform in order to maintain a certain level of privacy. But in this case, be sure to filter the information that’s publicly viewable. This may seem like common sense, but I see too many people who don’t bother to visit their own profile to see what’s visible to others.
“Oops, it’s been WAY too long since I’ve checked mine.” (Note to self: “Kevin, follow your own advice!”)
According to a study by Jobvite in 2015, 92% of recruiters use social media to recruit the best candidates. 87% use LinkedIn, 55% use Facebook, and 47% use Twitter. The conclusion is easy to make: the stronger your digital footprint on social media, the more you’ll be chased and coveted by job recruiters.
Now that you see the importance of a strong digital identity on social media, I want to give you a bit of good advice to start you off.
1 – Google yourself
I know, you already know who you are and you don’t need to Google yourself. But this is a critical step that will let you see who you are in the eyes of Google and the recruiters smart enough to put your name into a search engine. You’ll be surprised at the goldmine of information available about you. If you find photos of yourself that you’re not very proud of (believe me, we all have them), find the source and delete them.
Here’s an example of how to create one of these free accounts in 5 minutes for Neos. These tools can be used for both personal and professional accounts.
2 – Make sure you have accounts on both LinkedIn and Twitter
If you don’t want to use Facebook for professional reasons, you should at least have an account on LinkedIn. Even though Facebook is by far the most frequently visited social network in the world, it’s generally inferior to LinkedIn in a professional context (for now).
I’m not a big fan of Twitter, but it would be unwise of me to tell you to ignore it. This social network can play a big role in your strategy for developing your e-reputation.
3 – Add a professional photo of yourself
If your LinkedIn photo is a blurry selfie of you in the middle of a crowd in Times Square, that’s great, but change it immediately!
The same thing goes for your profile picture on Facebook: avoid pictures that show you drunk and surrounded by beer bottles. These types of photos aren’t very reassuring for job recruiters. Take the time to upload a flattering picture of yourself, as this small detail could make a big difference.
4 – Follow publications in your industry
This is the easiest way to stay up-to-date on the latest news and trends in your area of expertise. Just “like” the pages that interest you and regularly check their newsfeeds. Then, you can use your newfound knowledge to impress your colleagues, boss, and even your friends.
5 – Follow the Influencers of your industry
Influencers are the true experts and they know the field like the back of their hands. By following them, you’ll be able to keep up to date on the latest trends, unearth good tips for developing your expertise, and could even come up with new ideas to innovate your own work.
6 – Share their content
When you “like,” comment on, or share something online, other people see it. This means that you can start developing your web identity and become an expert in your field just by clicking buttons.
Find articles and publications that pique your interest, comment on them (always in a constructive manner), and ask questions. Share them and tag people that you know would be interested. The more people associate good content with your name, the faster your reputation will develop.
7 – “Like” publications in your network
Along the same lines of the influencers, go through your newsfeed and “like,” comment on, and share all the articles you find interesting. If one of your colleagues was mentioned in a blog post or newspaper, comment on it to congratulate them. If one of your LinkedIn connections got a new promotion, endorse of one of their skills.
All of these small things will help you maintain your business network and will encourage others to do the same for you in return. As they say, “you gotta give some to get some.”
8 – Join targeted groups
There are tons of interesting groups on Facebook and LinkedIn where you can participate in stimulating conversations, give advice, or ask and respond to questions. Find them in search bars and join them. If your posts are pertinent and of high quality, people will begin to follow and connect with you.
We tend to think that we have to start from scratch when boosting our careers. But if you start doing the above eight things on social media, you’ll increase your chances of landing a new position or changing employers in your search for new challenges.