How social media can make or break your career

How social media can make or break your career
PHOTO: BankBazaar.sg

Over the years, social media has evolved from being a casual activity to being an important tool to get business and make money. These days, employers consider a candidate's social media presence to be as important as his/her resume.

That is because your social media presence is an extension of your personality and your thoughts, and is a part of the brand you market yourself to be. So basically, your social media activity can make or break your career.

It is only natural for a hiring manager to 'Google' your name before sending you that offer letter. So, it is best that positive information about you comes up when he/she does that. Here is how you can assure that.

5 practical tips to make sure your social media activities impact your career opportunities in a positive way

1. BEING AN INFLUENCER

You might not have decades of experience in the field that you operate in but your knowledge or passion can help you make a fine impression online.

For example, LinkedIn is a professional platform that gives you a chance to share your insights through its publishing tool. Initially limited to specialists, the platform is now available to anyone who has a LinkedIn account. Original content written in a conversational, simple manner which hits the right points is the most sought after today.

You could either write about the field you have made a career in (for example, sales) or something you are extremely passionate about (for example, photography). With over 460 million members on LinkedIn, you can be sure you have a fan following of your own.

2. USING RELEVANT PROFILE PHOTOS

This seemingly simple point is a tricky one. While you might be active across multiple social media platforms, having different profile photos on each one is the right way to do it. You can select a fun profile photo for non-professional sites such as Facebook or Instagram but your LinkedIn profile photo should have a bit of a formal touch to it.

Make sure it is not really old and looks like how you currently do! Smile and dress in clothes you would generally wear to work. Ideally, your face must take up 40 per cent-60 per cent of the entire space. Avoid sunglasses, full body shots, and loud backgrounds. Your profile photo is really important as it might be the first look your hiring manager is getting of you. So, make the most of it.

3. JOINING THE RIGHT GROUPS

Social media platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn give you a chance to meet like-minded individuals across the world. They offer the perfect opportunity to learn more about your sector as well as interests.

If you feel the need, you could make a group yourself and invite the right set of people to join in. This will give you a chance to explore the latest trends, have healthy debates, and hold problem sharing and solving sessions.

When your hiring manager sees your contribution to these groups and zeal to learn more while helping others, it definitely will give you an edge over the other candidates. And for all you know, he may be a part of these groups!

4. MAKING SURE YOUR RESUME MATCHES YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE

The hobbies listed on your resume are photography, baking, and reading. Your Facebook page screams you love hiking, singing, and Yoga. While there is nothing wrong with having the latter three options as your hobbies, they just don't match with the ones stated on your resume. Inconsistency in something like hobbies may plant questions about other more 'serious' sections on your resume.

Also, make sure other important information such as details about your prior employers, your tenure, and designations specified on social media all match those listed on your resume.

Long story short, ensure your social media presence re-affirms your resume.

5. SHOWING EMPATHY

Being judgmental comes easy but being empathetic comes consciously. With a machine gun of emotionally draining stories being shot at us every day, becoming numb and callous about a lot of issues is common. With shaming and criticising on social media becoming a trend, the empathy factor has gone out of the window. This is where you can stand out.

May it be global wars or a local issue, being empathetic and saying "I feel your pain" through your posts and shares on social media brings out the human element in you. If the one who is planning to hire you comes across your empathetic comments, it may be considered a positive.

Now that you know what you must do on social media to be in the good books of hiring managers, let's see what are the strict 'no-nos':

  1. Liking a page which promotes pornography or illegal content.
  2. Insulting and defaming your current or ex-employer or colleague.
  3. Having an opinion about everything.
  4. Posting drunken photos, videos, or even comments.
  5. Hurting religious or political sentiments.
  6. Spreading gossip.
  7. Exposing too much of your personal life on a professional platform.
  8. Posting rude, cold comments.
  9. Posting raunchy photos of yourself.
  10. Sharing your offer letter, appraisal letter, or exit interview details.

So, there you go. Once you follow these simple tips, your social media presence will give a boost to your professional image and open new doors to success for you.

This article was first published in BankBazaar.sg.

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