Creating Your Social Media Résumé

Social media have evolved from tools simply used to meet and connect with others into e-commerce marketplaces, lucrative photo-sharing platforms and content creation spaces that allow for autonomous presumption. In this increasingly digitalised and connected world, social media can also be leveraged in the professional life of the recent graduate or working student. Using social media, you can establish a network within your field, develop your personal brand or supply potential employers with a portfolio of your achievements and recommendations before you even step through their doors. With this in mind, the importance of a social media presence cannot be understated, especially a social media presence reinforced with an etiquette that will help your prospects and likelihood of success in the world of work. While social media etiquette may not be defined in a rulebook, it can easily be learned and practiced by considering the following rules of thumb and suggestions that outline some "do's" and "don’ts" where social media and your professional life are concerned.

 

Do's

  • Create an online presence on platforms of your liking. Being visible online will make it easier for you to be contacted, to make connections, and to showcase your skills and experience. LinkedIn is a great platform to establish a presence on due to its nature as a business and employment orientated online service. Facebook and Instagram can also serve as platforms for self-promotion that employers can screen when looking to hire. Keeping the information on your pages up to date is of paramount importance to ensure that you’re updated on relevant opportunities.
  • Be intentional about networking. Start connecting with people you studied with and expand from there by following experts, businesses, and micro networks in your industry of interest and/or profession. Once you’ve developed networks of your own and joined those already in existence, use your social media presence as a marketing tool that will work without your constant initiation.
  • Check your privacy settings on existing accounts. Make personal accounts private if you don’t intend on including them in your social media portfolio. Consider creating professional accounts that will function independently of personal accounts to maintain that distinction and a preservation of privacy.
  • Google yourself! Search results can reveal a collection of your personal data in the form of old accounts, posts, or other evidence of activity. Clean up your search results by permanently deleting inactive accounts and posts that are inappropriate or that will not provide employers with a true reflection of who you are. This will not erase the data from those who have already seen it, but it will prevent the data from being seen by potential employers.

 

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Don’ts

  • Refrain from posting insensitive and inappropriate content. Such content includes the use of profanities, posts that are discriminatory in nature and those that are suggestive or explicit in their display of behaviours not in-keeping with social decorum. A number of employers now dedicate time to checking the social media pages of prospective employees during the hiring process and with the goal being to make a good impression, what you post should be another reason they choose to hire you, not the reason they decide not to.
  • When employed, unless you work in an industry or occupy a position that requires you to post about the activities of the establishment you work for, posting about work is not a good idea. This means resisting the urge to rant online or post work information because it may be privileged. You will most probably connect online with those you work with, so employers can be notified if posts that are damaging to the establishment become subject to public consumption.
  • Posting while you’re supposed to be working can put you in a compromising position due to the timestamp feature of most social media platforms. Exercise discipline by limiting your social media activity to out-of-work hours. Activating app timers or downloading apps that help you focus and stay off your phone are some ideas you can implement to develop this discipline.
  • Watch your words. A mixture of poor diction, callous tone and ignorance can easily escalate a comment from being an expression of opinion to evidence of cyberbullying or trolling. Think, read, and review before you post a comment, because a few words are not worth your job, career, or reputation.

Ultimately, your social media presence can be a great help or an agent of harm in your search for opportunities in the workforce. It’s up to you to develop your social media etiquette and good judgement skills to ensure that your social media presence works for you as you do.

 

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