Maintaining a professional image on social media
Gone are the days when you could simply turn up for an interview with a printed CV and a smart suit. In the age of social media before you’ve even entered the room the prospective employer may have already researched your social media profiles to assess who you really are.
If you’re looking to project a professional reputation, you need to maintain a professional social media presence. Here are our top tips to help you create the best possible image of yourself online.
Whether we realise it or not, we make instantaneous judgments about every person and image we see - and the same is true of what we put online. This is especially important when looking for a job. Choosing the right photo to convey the right message is therefore paramount.
Ensure your profile picture is taken in a professional setting and is of you - not a group shot of your family, friends, pets or work colleagues!
Be mindful when you post other photos that they are appropriate. You can “untag” yourself if you’ve been tagged in an unprofessional photo so your network won't be able to view the photo. You can also consider asking friends to delete the photo if it’s particularly embarrassing.
Think before you post
We’ve all been guilty of getting carried away and posting things on social media which we later regret. Before you make any comment or post, consider how you’d feel if your boss or clients read what you’re about to post. Never use foul language and avoid political or religiously charged statements that may offend others.
Disassociate yourself with anything that makes you uncomfortable
Unfollow or hide comments or information that you deem to be inappropriate and do not reflect your views. Remaining professional online means that you don’t want to associate with people who post inappropriate comments on your page.
Think about your connections
Only connect with people you know and trust to ensure your network is aligned with your goal of keeping a professional presence on social media.
Don’t be negative about work
Publically deriding a colleague or company (current or former) could indicate to future employers that you are unprofessional. If you are unhappy with something it is best to address issues in person (the old fashioned way!) not in a public forum.
Check for typos
If you want to be taken seriously make sure everything you write is spelt correctly.
Remain courteous in forums
If you are using forums or public discussion groups on social media, particularly on professional channels such as LinkedIn, always remain polite and unaggressive. Writing in capitals and using profane or slang language is definitely to be avoided.
Change your privacy settings
No matter what social channel you use, there is usually an option to make your profile private. Double check your settings to ensure you can’t be found if you don’t want to be.
Remember, even if your profile is private your posts are still seen by friends/connections (and often friends-of-friends depending on your settings). People talk, so if you post an unprofessional post, then you’re still building an unprofessional picture of yourself even if your profile is private.
Make sure you read our page on how to search for jobs on social media.