As social media continues to become a more integral facet of the working world, job seekers can do well by knowing and utilizing best practices when using these platforms. Public forums such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn tend to be opinionated battlegrounds, and no matter how much advice is out there, professionals continue to make glaring mistakes. While your negative tweet may seem like nothing more than heated, momentary lack of discretion, it could be all the difference for hiring managers or recruiters considering calling you for an interview. Before you go out and start posting, consider these five tips for managing your social media while you're on the job hunt:
1. Keep it professional
Sometimes it may seem difficult to figure out where the personal-professional line is on social media. After all, your Facebook profile and Twitter account are a place for you to interact with friends, but the fact is you're a knucklehead if you think iffy material won't affect your online presence. Avoid posting any vulgar or offensive comments, stay away from suggestive photos and don't rely on privacy settings to hide anything unsavory. Plain and simple, you absolutely should showcase your personality, but keep it professional.
2. Make sure all of your information is up to date
Recruiters, hiring managers and other professionals will expect your social media information to be current and accurate. If your latest promotion or publication isn't listed anywhere, then odds are these key players don't know it exists. What's more, outdated content may make it appear as if you don't have as much job experience as you do in actuality.
3. Always do a self-edit
Don't post first and ask questions later. Nothing looks sloppier than a person having to post additional edits to clarify previously published material. Before you hit send, read through what you've written two or three times to ensure that it is polished and free of spelling or grammatical errors. This practice will highlight your ability to pay attention to details.
4. Know when to step away
There's nothing wrong with going out and enjoying a night on the town, but it's a big problem if you wake up to a bunch of nasty tweets and Facebook comments the next morning. In general, avoid drinking and posting to social media, as the alcohol may cloud your better judgment. Also, know when to take a step back from heated arguments or other negative situations. Posting an inflammatory rant about a restaurant after an unsatisfactory meal may be therapeutic at the time, but it may turn off professionals on your social media channels.
5. Be consistent
While every once and a while you may need to take a break from the world – social media included – going off the grid for weeks at a time may negatively affect your personal branding. Networking requires consistent effort, and connecting with people on social media requires regular usage.