Can using Social Media help your career?

Social Media

Can Using Social Media Help your career?

We have read the horror stories, seen the photos and heard the rumours and know that social media used without caution can get you fired, but can it get you hired?

Inappropriate use of social media such as posting photos from the beach on a day you have called in sick, reference to issues or people in your workplace, even compromising information posted on other people’s platforms are recipes for career disaster, but don’t let this deter you from using it.  Social media can increase your profile, show-case your expertise, knowledge and experience in the industry and help you to find perhaps the job of your dreams. Indeed prospective employers and recruitment companies are actively using social media platforms to identify potential candidates, so its in your benefit to be involved.

So where do you start?

Check yourself out! Google your name and review what articles and images come up. This is a good time to untag yourself from any posts or images that portray your image negatively.

Develop your online professional profiles by first considering what you are going to use. Below are the most common and how they are best used.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an online social networking tool designed specifically for professionals to find a job and build opportunities to connect with others in their industry online (ok – you know this as you are on it now, but have to keep the article inclusive of all).

Once you have registered with LinkedIn and built your professional profile, uploaded your most professional photo (selfie free zone), it’s time to search for vacancies, follow relevant organisations and connect with others in your industry. Once you have developed your network, it is time to venture further afield and even send out posts, comments and “likes” on a topic you are interested in, which helps to increase your profile. Also have previous employers or colleagues to write recommendations for you.

Twitter

Twitter is an information network where “tweets” are sent via short 140 character messages to registered followers. Once registered with twitter, you can follow industry experts and organisations and participate in discussions relevant to you.

It is often advisable to have a personal and professional twitter account but it is quite acceptable to show your interests and style and build a bigger personality picture of yourself which helps potential employers to get to know you a little better.

Facebook

Facebook is possibly the most popular social networking site worldwide and allows users to create profiles, share photos, images and messages.

It is very important to note the cautions listed in the following section of this article in regard to Facebook as it tends to be used for a more social rather than work focused communication tool, nonetheless, it can assist in building your professional network and also acts as a useful tool for your employer to research you and you to research your potential employer!

A few words of caution

According to research conducted by Telstra, job screening in undertaken by more than a quarter of all Australian bosses who use social networking sites to do this.

To ensure you remain on the candidate list for a new position, it is recommended you:

  • Review all your social media accounts (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) and delete any comments or images that may be perceived offensive. Be over vigilant here and “if in doubt take it out”.
  • If you want to keep your Facebook or other social media profiles uncensored to your friends and family, but think these may not portray your most professional side, head to the security settings. By putting maximum privacy settings on your social media accounts, you can keep them confidential to only those who you have linked with.
  • Ensure that all you claim to have done, worked and been involved with is accurately reflected online. Just as it is vital to keep your CV up to date when job hunting, your social media profiles need to be regularly updated too.
  • Carefully consider all the friend and link requests before accepting. Without careful scrutiny of your privacy settings, private postings can soon become public and if they are reposted by a ‘friend’ not so vigilant with security. Being “tagged” in someone else’s photo can be found by those doing a social media search if your security settings are not in place.

Once you have the job, don’t become complacent. The Telstra research also showed that one in ten employers regularly trawl networking sites to review productivity levels ensuring that staff are demonstrating appropriate social media boundaries that align with the organisations policies and procedures.

Social media, both personally and professionally is a powerful tool and therefore must be used with wisdom to achieve your goals. Being clear about what you want from the outset is imperative, and although it may be new ground for you to try, ask yourself if what you are doing today is getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow.

Natalie Wischer RN, BN, RM, CDE, Grad Dip Mgt

Executive Director, Australian Diabetes Online Services

 

 

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