Student and Graduate Publishing

Social media: The importance of an online profile

Monday, 27 January 2014 10:04

By Meli Shannon

 - You may think social media is a form of entertainment, but think again. Employers are increasingly searching for public profiles as a method of assessing possible candidates for jobs. They can be used additionally to your CV, to help employers form a rounded picture of who you are. Whilst they aren't searching for information to hold against you, if you have negative photos or statements readily available they will find them. Be prepared to face up to this at interview or even the likelihood that you won't make it to that stage. This is why it is important and beneficial to form a positive, online profile which reflects the best possible you.

TOP 3 DO's and DONT's

• Photos

DO post photos of activities with friends and family. This reflects you as a rounded, socially active individual with many interests.

DON’T post indecent photos from nights out (or otherwise!). As hilarious as it seemed, these will only be humiliating. This also counts for anything offensive. Keep it pleasant.

• Status Updates

DO keep your followers/friends up to date with achievements. Also keep professional profiles up to date with your CV.

DON’T over share. Over-emotional or controversial, political/religious opinions show you lack a social awareness of those around you. Employers don't want to risk you bad mouthing there company.

• Contact Details

DO use your true name without nicknames or symbols. Providing an email address is useful should employers come across your profile and want to contact you.

DONT use a ridiculous email address. Avoid those which are too long or a jumble of characters if you want to be taken seriously.

Common mistakes like these could decide the fate of an application. Remember that every profile, online or not, is a reflection of you. If you can't present yourself well, do not expect an employer to let you represent them.

It is recommended that you maintain multiple profiles such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook as well as an image based one such as Pinterest or Instagram. This shows you are aware of the growing importance of social media.

Which social media is for you?

• LinkedIn

It is useful to have an account with LinkedIn regardless of your career path. It is essentially an online CV which is accessible to others looking for particular skills or experience. Instead of friends you make 'connections' which you are only able to do if you both accept and you enter the professional experience through which you met. Once you've added skills or achievements your connections are able to 'endorse' them. This shows the employer you do in fact have these traits.

• Twitter

Using a twitter account well means consistently posting appropriate content which interests you. Rarely posting says more than not having it at all. You can keep up with current issues that are 'trending' and follow figures or companies you want know more about.

• Blog (eg. Blogger/Wordpress)

On a blog you can write article-style posts on any subject you wish. Additionally you can create pages to categorise your post. It is a perfect way of collecting your interests and giving the reader a clear outline of who you are. Many bloggers write about lifestyle, food, fashion, travel and art to name a few. Just make sure it is interesting. You can tailor the appearance and layout exactly how you want it, which differentiates one blog from another and identifies you. If you are considering a career in journalism, marketing or in the media it is essential.

• Facebook

As the most popular of social media sites, Facebook attracts the masses. This means it is easy to slip into the habit of using it as an online diary and not filtering what you upload. Mainly used for personal use, the site is great for keeping in contact with friends and family around the world. Companies are increasingly creating Facebook pages for their customers to connect with them on an informal level.

One last tip: Keep your name, picture and colour scheme the same across all profiles. You are portraying yourself as a brand and hopefully one which an employee wants to invest in.