With ever more employers checking out prospective employees on social media it is very important your social media presence is professional. You don’t want the first thing a prospective employer finds about you to be embarrassing photos from stag or hen dos, inappropriate Facebook posts or expletive ridden tweets. Far better they find your LinkedIn profile highlighting a strong engagement with your specialism and links to papers you have written and judgements you are involved with.
Reviewing your social media profile
When you type your name into google, the cookies that are already on your computer will mean that the search results you see are tailored to your profile. To avoid this distortion open an “incognito” / “private browsing” window in your search engine (google how to do this if you don’t know) and then search for your name with other key terms, for example Name + Twitter; Name + Facebook; Name + [previous employer], Name + [your university] etc.
LinkedIn - develop a professional presence
LinkedIn is the professional network so use it as such.
• Keep it professional – don’t post about your social life on LinkedIn. That’s what Facebook is for.
• Build your profile – keep your career history up to date. Publish or link to any articles you feature in or thought leadership articles you have written on your social media profile. This activity is evidence of both technical expertise and business development capabilities. See also boost your profile below.
• Reconcile LinkedIn and your CV – smart recruiters will look for differences between your LinkedIn profile and your CV. Either eliminate them or be prepared to justify them.
• Follow relevant companies and groups – show an interest in your subject by being part of the most influential groups.
Boost your profile
If you are looking to proactively build your professional profile then “Publishing a Post” (aka blogging) via LinkedIn can be a very effective way to showcase your insights and experience. Because of the way search engines work, blogging via LinkedIn will increase the ranking of your LinkedIn profile relative to other social media sites. Posting via LinkedIn will also result in your updates appearing in colleagues’ news feeds, discreetly raising your profile.
Facebook – lock it down
Facebook changes the privacy settings with an annoying frequency, so it is worth checking your settings on a regular basis. To access you privacy settings look for the padlock in the top right of your profile.
We suggest that you limit who can see your activity to “Friends”. If there are any embarrassing photos of you, then either delete them or “untag” yourself to make them harder to find. The approach “Would I mind my grandmother seeing that?” is a good way to judge content.
While Facebook is not commonly considered a business tool in the UK, in the US it is commonplace for colleagues to connect with each other and in some Asian countries it is used as a professional networking tool.
Twitter – don’t be a twit
Delete any embarrassing tweets you have previously posted. Remember if the tweet has been retweeted then it will be almost impossible to get rid of. For that reason, don’t post anything on twitter which is likely to cast you in a bad light.
If you are posting content to LinkedIn then you can increase the audience it reaches using twitter – it will take an extra minute which is a fraction of the time it takes you to write the content.
Social media content – even when it is intended to be private – should be thought of as public and indestructible. Once you have made a post, the share functionality often makes it impossible to control the distribution or delete the content.
Furthermore, because social media sites are optimised for search engines, posts on them will likely feature high up in your search rankings. This is a double edged sword. While any negative posts may feature more prominently than you would like, you can push them down the rankings by creating more positive, recent content that will show you in a positive light and as being proactive and influential within your sector.