Nowadays, social networks have become an important aspect of a job search. Personal branding has become part of professional activities and expertise for many businesses. Thus, consultants are expected to have a wide network of business contacts, publicity specialists should have a large number of contacts with members of the media and bloggers, and digital marketing specialists should regularly publish viral posts. Job hunting for many occupations has become inseparable from social networks, as workers must create their own professional brand.
However, social networks are often inadvertently a part of personal branding, because today many employers check candidates for any job on social networks to find out what they are like as a person. It often happens that due to inappropriate content on social networks, for many candidates job hunting turns into an impossible task.
You should make social media an ally in your job search, not an enemy.
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When does a job search require personal branding?
As already mentioned, some professions are expected to have an already established network of social contacts on social media, especially LinkedIn. It is difficult for someone to say that he is a professional in human resources if he has very few contacts on LinkedIn. After all, LinkedIn is designed for professional networking.
Occupations in which employees are expected to have active and developed profiles on social networks are human resources, PR specialists, consultants, business development specialists, media workers, and various managers.
What is everyone looking at on social networks during a job search?
In addition to the number of contacts on social networks, which are important for the previously mentioned occupations, employers look at many different things in job candidates, trying to get an overall impression of a person.
One of the important things that is certainly a plus for every worker are announcements about the worker’s activities. These include information about acquiring and completing additional business competencies and skills, participating in conferences and round tables, discussing industry news, and sharing official employer announcements.
Sometimes when looking for a job, because of culture fit, things that speak about the candidates outside of work life, such as information about volunteering, participation in humanitarian activities, sports activities, or hobbies, are also important. In previous articles on our blog, we have already mentioned that it is good to emphasize any hobby that is active in nature, such as cooking or learning a language, instead of those that are passive, such as watching television. A potential employer who sees that someone is very active in his professional and private life will expect him to bring the same energy to the workplace.
What repels employers on social networks when looking for a job?
Things to avoid in your social media posts are sensitive topics such as politics, gender roles, sexual activity, religion, or money. Also, it can be a bad sign for some employers if only stories about vacations are among the candidate’s posts because they can justifiably or unjustifiably conclude that the person is only thinking about how to rest.
Of course, things that will immediately turn off an employer are vulgar or politically incorrect posts or interests of a radical or fringe nature. For example, if someone is interested in the occult, it is better not to share this interest publicly. It is necessary to make sure that social networks do not see posts about wild outings or uncontrolled consumption of alcohol. That is why it is necessary to think clearly about the visibility of your posts and what should rather belong in private communication with people you trust, and what can be seen by people who do not know them.
Sharing unverified information can also turn employers off because they will see a lack of critical thinking or a lack of truth in the candidate. Unverified information can be conspiracy theories, but also sharing rumors about institutions, other people, or falling for viral posts. It is necessary to be careful what is shared with others because others pay attention to what a person easily believes.
In addition to the content of the posts, the tone of the posts is also important. If someone constantly expresses his dissatisfaction either with everyday things or with larger societal issues, likes to publicly criticize others, and complains about the work of institutions, politicians, and others, the employer can conclude that he is a person of low emotional intelligence. No one wants to work with a potentially argumentative person who doesn’t work well with others and doesn’t care what others think of them.
An especially alarming sign for employers are things like criticizing your current or former employer, inflammatory comments on social or political topics, or rude comments in response to other people’s comments under your posts.
Employers also look at the nature of the posts, i.e. whether they are original or just sharing other people’s posts. If one wants to be involved in the discussion of industry news, it is not enough to just share other people’s thoughts, but also to add one’s own thoughts and perspective. It is important for potential candidates to be seen to be passionate about their industry and to have clear views on key issues.
Finally, it should be borne in mind that for most professions (except those in marketing, for example), too frequent posts on social networks are not good. Someone who has 10 or more posts a day, especially during working hours, is clearly not dedicated to work.
Resisting public opinion
Many people, especially younger people, have the attitude that they do not want to adjust their presence on social networks during a job search. They believe that the employer should value them as the person in total they are. Many HR professionals will truly only focus on one’s professional competencies. But the problem is that they are not the people who make the final decisions.
Managers often think more deeply about candidates and potential risks. For example, in one case, the manager refused to talk to a qualified candidate who very often posted photos of himself practicing martial arts on social networks. He reasoned that such a candidate was too likely to suffer serious injury and that such a risk was unacceptable when working on key projects. Thus, even relatively normal activities can prove to be an inconvenient bane when looking for a job.
Another form of resistance to public opinion is the absence of presence on social networks. Such candidates either do not have profiles on social networks at all or they have a high level of privacy. With professional social networks such as LinkedIn, privacy is against the logic of the platform. This approach depends on the profession. In many workplaces, the employer will accept that the worker separates his professional and private life, if not recognize it as a sign of maturity and professionalism. However, in certain professions, such an approach can be a complete failure. If someone wants to work with people, and especially manage them, he must become a public figure.
Job search: a list of things to watch out for on your social profiles
In conclusion, you should pay attention to:
- profile name and contact information on social networks. Many people overlook the possibility that is possible on their social networks to see emails that contain rude and unprofessional words, or that lead to profiles on other networks that are more free or vulgar.
- profanity, lewd comments, and sexually suggestive posts should be avoided
- with photos, care should be taken that provocative photos are not publicly available. No one wants the first picture their potential employer sees of them to feature a bottle of alcohol.
- content should avoid provocative or sensitive topics. The key here is to think about whether a post might offend another person. It’s nice to be outspoken about social and political topics, but it can turn off a significant portion of employers.
- activity on social networks should not be absent, but especially should not be excessive. Candidates are expected to do their work and not spend their time on social media.
- if something should be visible from the posts, it is politeness and interest.
Job search in many professions still does not require excessive thinking about your profile on social networks. This trend is rapidly changing, and more and more employers, especially in better-paid jobs, want to get to know candidates as people for culture fit. Experts predict that in the future most workplaces will require personal professional branding.