Social Media or Web 2.0 as it is also known has become a great tool for all: from students to job seekers, from HR staff to managers, almost everybody has a Facebook or WeChat account, many also have a Twitter account and some (mostly professional job seekers) also hold a LinkedIn account…
But how useful (or beneficial) are these tools for job seekers?
In a recent poll, 37 percent of employers and HR managers mentioned they use social media to “screen” potential candidates (and these percentages are growing). Some “Google” your name after receiving your resume, some lookup your profiles to see if you “exist” and evaluate your character and personality (based on what they can /or cannot see from you).
Many of these employers commented they ignore professional candidates who don’t “exist” on the Internet (for them, this is a sign that you are either hiding something, or you are computer illiterate); other reasons to ignore a candidate are: not showing a picture (or the picture is unprofessional), having a poor developed or outdated LinkedIn profile or not having any at all. Many have made decisions of (not to hire) a candidate if they see things about you they don’t like, such as inappropriate pictures, comments or communication skills; discriminatory posts, evidence of drug or alcohol abuse, inappropriate language or evidence of lying about your qualifications (resume does not match your profile).
Here are some tips for you to improve your Internet “branding”:
- Keep Facebook and WeChat for communication with family members and friends only. If you choose to use them for job search, then make sure your profile, settings and postings reflect a professional image: you may have to take down pictures or comments, hide your wall or prevent others to write public comments or “tag” your pictures.
- Before inviting people to join your LinkedIn network, make sure your profile is ready: do you have a professional picture? Have you proofread your description? Have you added your education and work history? Does it match your resume? Have you asked for recommendations?
- Email: create a separate email for job search and professional networking; make sure it shows your formal name and carries an email ‘signature” that sounds professional. For immigrants to Canada, it is advisable to create an account using well-known servers such as Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail with local or global terminations such as .ca or .com . Avoid showing names in a different language or alphabet.
- Learn and practice Netiquette: communicating in the cyberspace has its “rules” and not following them may make you appear as unprofessional. Netiquette is the equivalent to “business communication” but for Internet users.
- Be mindful when you “like” or “share” articles and pages: all your Twitter followers and Facebook friends will see what you are doing…so the next time you share or like, think twice!
- When using public forums, be careful about the comments you post. Certain topics are considered “taboo” or inappropriate and they will stay forever, attached to your name…
- Finally, remember that once you press that key and send that comment, email or picture, they won’t belong to you anymore: anything you post can be shared, forwarded or printed…boosting or damaging your professional image, your potential hires and even your personal life.
About the Author: Argentinean born Silvia Di Blasio works as Employment Counselor for the Skills Connect program for immigrants at ISSofBC. Silvia specializes in eLearning, Credential Evaluation and Social Media. In her spare time, Silvia volunteers for many community boards and organizations.Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.