In an increasingly digital world, many of us have decided to join the social media bandwagon and have created profiles on networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
There is no doubt that there is an importance of social media to increase your online visibility, but it is just as important to remember to create boundaries between your personal and professional online activities.
So how do you integrate the two effectively and efficiently without running into grey areas?
All the above mentioned networking sites can be useful in your job search, but don’t forget that many companies that are interested in you for a position will likely perform an online search of your name to see what kind of information comes up. Remember this key fact when you’re posting pictures and updates on your profile pages. A potential employer may not think that you and your friends slinging back shots at that birthday party is the image that they want their new hire to portray.
Facebook is a great way to connect with friends and increasingly with businesses, but you can’t always control what other people post about you. If you’re worried about comments you’ve made or potentially damaging pictures being viewed by people outside of your network, make sure to check your settings so that people who shouldn’t have access to such material is blocked.
LinkedIn is similar to Facebook in that you make several connections, but it is a much more business oriented tool. Many employers will upload job posts and it’s a great way to find out information on company profiles and the types of employees that are currently working for them. Update your LinkedIn profile regularly and remember to keep it professional.
Twitter has quickly become a tool that many people are using to network about jobs and events that are going on all over the world. Here, you are limited to 140 characters maximum, so you get snippets of information of all kinds. Do a search on companies or topics that interest you and then “follow” their tweets to get instant updates from them. You can use Twitter to tell people what you are interested in and what you are doing, but again, remember that unless you lock your account, anyone, including potential employers may see what you’re up to.
So, if you choose to utilize any number of social networking tools out there, remember to be mindful of the things that you say, the pictures that you post and how these things represent you to others. It’s good practice to Google your name every so often to see what’s out there. You may just be surprised at what you find!