After working as an Internet geek for the past decade or so, I’m still amazed at the amount of wacky updates folks post to their social media profiles. And since many people are on the lookout for that next good job, it’s important to think about what potential employers will gather about you when they scour the social media sphere for info on their potential new team member.
Four Things Not To Do:
- Bad Mouthing Your Past Or Current Employer. Basically companies are going to wonder if you rant and complain about old bosses and companies, will you do the same to theirs. I mean, we all have troubles that get under our skin, but posting them on the web look bad. Keep it under the radar.
- Wacky/Unprofessional Status Updates. The sad truth is, employers want white-bread impressions of folks. They don’t want to read about your extreme political views or how quickly you toss around four letter words. I have read a few hilarious Facebook updates that had some pretty colorful language. But if that corporation you’re trying to get a foothold in reads that, they will not come away with a positive impression of your communications skills.
- Going On and On About Your Flaws. Tweets like “Zzzzz! Having another focus breakdown today, my third one. Heading for the coffee machine to stay alive” don’t give a glamorous impression of your work habits. Or worse yet, posting something like “Just enjoyed my favorite microbrew at lunch. Man, a few Pale Ales sure can ease the pain of a long work day.” Sure it may be true, but why highlight for all to see (and judge)?
- An Unflattering Profile Picture. We’ve all seen those profile pictures that make you wince. Within milliseconds, potential employers judge who you are when they see that image. So why not post one that doesn’t put you in a bad light. I’m guilty of this one myself, since for a while I used Homer Simpson holding a frosty beer as my profile picture on Facebook.
So to get a handle on how you look to the employers out there, do a quick Google search on your name and see what comes up. Go ahead and clean up your social networking profiles while you’re at it. If you happen to have your own personal web site, you can optimize it to rank for the career keywords you are after. And to boost your professionalism, it doesn’t hurt to have a completed LinkedIn profile. Just try to look at yourself from your potential employers eyes, and if you see anything that seems off-kilter or puts you in a bad light, change it. Change it now!