Welcome to the wonderful world of you. Because that’s largely what the internet is: you, in all your many facets. From the socialite on Facebook, to the serious networker on LinkedIn, you might be the controversial commentator on Instagram but the expert on a company’s webpage.
However different these platforms may be and whatever side of your personality they show, they all add up to one thing: you. So, are you happy with the story they tell? Would an employer be equally impressed? Because try as you might, the personal can’t always be separated from the professional – and most employers will check out your entire online blueprint before they even consider hiring you. Don’t believe us? It’s estimated that over a quarter of HR professionals have rejected an applicant on the basis of what appears on the web.
Go on, google yourself.
THE MASTER PLAN
PERCEPTION IS EVERYTHING:
Build an online reputation that works to your advantage. How? By consciously creating the impression you want to project. If you want to be known as a consummate professional with particular expertise in digital strategy, the legal landscape or financial markets (basically, whatever your area of interest), you need to cultivate that image. Connect with likeminded individuals on LinkedIn, contribute to discussion groups, start a blog, submit articles, tweet your insights, share relevant Facebook posts – anything that gets you noticed, for all the right reasons. And on that note…
BAD ONLINE REPUTATIONS ARE THE WORST:
Not to sound like a broken record, but you can’t always separate the personal from the professional. When you’re online, you need your sensible head. You know, the one that stops you from launching into a tirade about how annoying your boss is, how desperately you want to quit, how much you’re enjoying your faux sick day. Because we’ve seen real life people get busted.
You really think about it. It’s easy to get carried away with the banter on social media or to lash out with harsh (even extreme) comments when you disagree with someone’s point of view, but you might come to regret it.
HOW TO NOT SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE FOOT:
Social media can be the greatest referral network out there. But if you don’t want your employer to know you’re looking around, be smart. Asking for recommendations on LinkedIn is a glaring sign that you plan on jumping ship, so be careful about who you approach. Only ask for recommendations from people you’ve worked with and don’t be offended if someone declines, they might just be protecting their own space.
THE SOCIAL MINEFIELD:
As careful as you are, there’s also your friends to consider. When it comes to social media, we’d recommend employing the strictest security settings. Remove any personal info you’d rather your employers didn’t see and ask your friends (nicely) to wipe any damaging comments, pictures or videos involving you. You can change your Facebook settings so that your friends need your express permission before anything they post about you goes live. If you haven’t done this, you need to look into it.
Of course, you might decide that this is all too much like hard work and remove yourself from the online world entirely, but if you’re firmly rooted in social networks and you need any help navigating this complex new world.
Head to the website to down load the latest paper in the Spring Professional Leadership Series, LinkedIn – Eight Tips in Under Eight Minutes. The team at Spring Professional, are well versed in the digital space an always happy to guide you through.