Social media tools, like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, can be valuable resources in not only networking with people you already know, but also with expanding your network to others. The old adage about it’s not what you know, but who you know is alive and well in the world of work, so use social media and your connections creatively to find and secure a job.
Social media, though, also has dangers for the young professional. Savvy young professionals know there are social media guidelines that must be followed.
For some, a personal page on a social media site, a blog or a website may include information that isn’t necessarily appropriate for the workplace. Before interviewing, go through and analyze your online presence to determine whether a manager or recruiter would be accepting of the comments and images you have posted. If it doesn’t pass the “gut check,” then it’s best to remove that content.
You may think about searching for your name (and variations of it) on Google to ensure everything online reflects favorably upon the image you are trying to project to prospective employers. If you find content you’re not particularly proud of, develop a plan to mitigate the problems this content may cause. For example, you may ask the person who posted the objectionable content to remove it because you are searching for a job. If that doesn’t work, figure out how you will explain this content should a prospective employer uncover it. Some employers run these same Google searches as a part of their due diligence in the hiring process, so don’t be surprised if you are asked. It’s best to be proactive and prepared for such a situation.
Once you’re hired, there are other social media guidelines to adhere to. Keep in mind that your employer may have a social media policy in place. Some companies have very stringent social media guidelines and restrict or block access to sites like Facebook and Twitter. Others are more relaxed in their approaches to social media usage in the workplace. It is your responsibility to know your employer’s policy and abide by it.
Now is a good time to again review what online information is out there about you. You are a reflection upon the company for which you work, so try to remove any subjective content you find. You may also want to check your privacy settings on Facebook. Determine who can see you photos, your wall and your posts. Consider untagging yourself from any photos that don’t project a professional image.