What is social media? Sites we use all the time; Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIN, Twitter, and blogs– these are all social media sites. We call them this because of the way we can create our own “media “ like status updates, sharing of other people content, or posting and sharing articles, pictures and videos, among other things.
How can my Facebook or my Twitter really help me get hired?
First, it might be worthwhile to notice how it can get in the way of getting you hired.
-Are there incriminating photos of you on your Facebook? One word: untag. Untag, untag, untag. Just because Joe-Shmoe in the triple across the hall thinks you are hysterical dancing with a lampshade on your head, doesn’t mean a future employer will be as amused if they do a search for your profile.
-Check your security preferences. If you go to your “Account” button on the upper right hand corner of your Facebook page, you can change your security settings to ensure that only the people you want to view you can actually see your updates and your photos. I strongly encourage all users not to allow “friends of friends” to see you, because if you have 800 friends, it is possible for 640,000 people or MORE to view your profile.
-But wait…who ARE your friends? And what are they saying? This is tricky. If you have friends who repeatedly post to your wall about their various thoughts and events, and they don’t jive with a professional image you are working toward creating, it might be a good idea to send them a private message and let them know. Still not getting the picture? Unfriend. As harsh as it sounds, it sounds even more ridiculous to think you didn’t get an interview for a great internship because the headhunter saw tasteless jokes or comments on your page.
Ok, so you’ve untagged, you’ve scouted your settings, maybe even let a friend or two go to protect your page content. What are some proactive steps you can take to actively use social media to your advantage? I have some ideas.
-Create a webpage. I have a close friend who used his Mac to create a webpage where he posted his resume, embedded his Twitter feed, and periodically he posts interesting articles and his thoughts on them in a blog section to the site. All of his pages include colorful pictures of him at work, doing the types of things he enjoys most (he is a teacher) working with students in labs, on field trips etc. Basically, the site is a way for him to be “googled” and be in control of what comes up on the Google hits.
-Making a webpage seems like a lot to you? Try creating a Google Profile. It’s an easy way to create your own directory tab that comes up whenever your name is searched. You can provide as little or as much info as you want. I have a small professional headshot on mine, a little info about working in at UVM and where I received my education, plus my current industry. I do not include where I work or my contact information. Check out this example of a profile….
-Think about taking control of what comes up when you are Googled. Oh sure, some things cannot be helped, but maybe your Tweets could use some more security than you may have initially thought, maybe it is time to really commit to creating a LinkedIN page for you to upload your resume, maybe you find that a blog from high school you thought had disappeared…hadn’t. Take control; get the good stuff up, and the bad stuff, gone.
Want to know more about how you can Market Yourself to Get Hired? Drop by our weekly sessions on Tuesdays at 4:15pm in L/L E166 during the Spring 2011 semester!