The fast rise and popularity of social media over the past ten years, has not only changed the way we communicate with our friends and family, it has changed how we screen potential employees and how job seekers can represent their personal brand.
The printed resume might be the first thing people see when a job is applied for, but there is a whole world of information out there that may change how personal brands are perceived (either positively or negatively). Social media has evolved into a form of criticism and judgement, and if people aren’t careful, reputations can be damaged.
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, You Tube and the entire internet for that matter, are all channels where you can promote your personal brand and build your story. And you need to ensure you are managing the dialogue and controlling the messages you want to send. As a potential employer, you may feel the need to vet candidates through social media, so there are no nasty surprises.
Over the years, privacy settings on platforms such as Facebook have changed, and not always for the benefit of the user.
Unless you are 100% confident that all your social media posts are above board and that your online friends won’t post anything to harm your reputation, you will need to review your privacy settings. If you are anything like me, you will not take the risk.
Whether you are the employer or you are a job seeker, here are some tips on how to keep your online brand in check:
- Screen and approve all Facebook tags to your profile before they are published to your page
- When posting to your Facebook page, ensure you are only posting to ‘friends’ not ‘public’
- Make your Instagram private and only visible to approved contacts
- Keep your Twitter profile private which will also prevent your posts to be retweeted
- Only connect with contacts on LinkedIn that you trust
- Within LinkedIn, keep your profile up to date especially when job seeking
Remember that even with all your privacy settings, users will still be able to see your profile picture on most platforms, so ensure photos align with your personal brand.
How do I know what information about me is out there?
Well, this is easy. It is a one word answer with 6 letters… GOOGLE. Type in your name, or the name of potential employee and hit enter. Boom! You will then have a public profile laid out right in front of you. If there is anything in there that you don’t want people to see, head back to your social media accounts and change your privacy settings or remove any unwanted images. You can also contact the site host of any images and ask for them to be removed.