Building a professional social media presence

Your social media profiles can create opportunities, but if not managed carefully, they can be damaging too. This guide provides simple tips on making them work in your favour.

Profile pictures
You should choose your profile pictures very carefully if you plan on utilising social media to find a job – regardless of which platform you’re using.

This is particularly important in LinkedIn, but also relevant elsewhere. Don’t try to be too clever; find a simple, high-quality headshot that looks professional and projec the image you want to give off. It’s best to let your skills and experience do the talking, rather than a zany pic.

7 Factors that increase the psychological impact of your LinkedIn profile photo

Privacy settings
Privacy is especially important on social media platforms like Facebook that are particularly informal. Go to your privacy settings and ensure that only friends can see your photos and posts.

Clean up your ‘bios’
If you want employers to find you, it’s vital that you put relevant information in your bio that briefly explains your skills, experience, and what you’re looking for. And brevity is key – a Twitter bio can be no longer than 160 characters.

Also, make sure that your profiles are grammatically sound and free from typos – proof them carefully.

Make the most of your LinkedIn profile
A good LinkedIn profile really can transform your career, so it’s worth getting right. Try to do the following:

  • Add a list of skills you’ve developed in previous roles – recruiters will be scanning for these and it will make you easier to find Make it clear that you’re looking for work
  • Request recommendations and endorsements from your connections – these will vastly improve the impact of your profile
  • Provide evidence of what you’ve achieved – awards, projects and specific targets reached
  • If you’re updating old details on your profile, temporarily turn off ‘activity broadcast'. This will ensure that your updates aren’t shared, which could otherwise confuse people
  • Proof everything carefully

Be consistently active
Social media is a conversation, and demands regular attention. It will be an ineffective tool in your job search unless you engage with others, and regularly.

So, comment on posts, join relevant groups and share interesting insights. ‘Like’ content that others share, and ‘retweet’ anything that piques your interest.

And make sure that you create your own content for others to engage with, and update your profiles whenever you gain new skills, experiences or qualifications.

Google yourself
Finally, Google yourself – just like your prospective employer will. It’s a simple way of checking what they might find.

Scan carefully and try to remove or edit anything listed that could reflect badly on you. And try to do this a few times a year – it’s a good habit to get into.

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