As we saw in the recent Fortune article about the Harvard students whose offers of admittance were rescinded, your social media activity matters. And it does not matter only when you are applying to college or business school; it also matters when you are searching for a new job. (According to a May 2016 CareerBuilder study, 60% of employers use social media.)
Typically, when recruiters review your social media profiles, they are looking for inappropriate photos, references to alcohol or drug use, negative posts about past employers or coworkers, evidence of a lack of communication skills, as well as discriminatory or inflammatory content regarding race, gender, religion, and other issues. Remember that those with whom you associate and their posts can also have an impact on your candidacy.
That said, social media can be very useful for networking, conducting research, and creating your brand. The following recommendations provide a starting point to help you leverage the power of social media in your job search:
- LinkedIn is a must; write a professional profile. Take control of your brand. Recruiters are not searching for details about your life; instead, most of them are looking to confirm your skills and qualifications.
- Read about your target companies on social media. Follow your target firms to see how they represent themselves, what customers are saying about their products, and what new trends are emerging in the industry. You can also use social media sites to learn about companies’ cultures and to identify management changes and potential job opportunities.
- Adapt your content for different social media sites. Do not be afraid to have a social media presence; just use it to your benefit. As each social network has its own unique characteristics and best practices, use different sites to demonstrate your fit with your target firms.
- Research potential career paths. Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people in your current and future target roles to understand what types of backgrounds companies expect their candidates to have.
- Keep in touch with your network. When you are connected on social media, your posts and updates help you to keep in touch with your network.
Final tip: Google yourself. What comes up? Look at your presence on all social media sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, LinkedIn). Then, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does what you see represent you?
- Is that the message that you want to send to your future employers?
- If you were the employer, would you invite this applicant to come in for an interview?
Have you been admitted to business school? If so, do you want to get a head start on defining your career goals? Do you need help preparing for job interviews or learning how to effectively network with your target employers? Or maybe you want to be a top performer in your current role but are unsure how to maximize your potential. Let an mbaMission Career Coach help via a free 30-minute consultation!