Archive for August, 2013

Tweeting or being a twit? Is social media letting you down in your career search

Posted on August 11, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

The theme of this post is all about the impact – both positive and negative – that social media has on you and your reputation.  I’ll also explain why your reputation is one of the fundamental areas underpinning a successful and growing career. freedigitalphotos.net
 
Your reputation is no longer merely formed by impressions people get when they see you or actually meet you – their impression and hence your reputation is also heavily influenced by what others can see of you on social media. Before the internet, your reputation was mostly built on how you presented at interview (or at work if you are seeking an internal promotion) and on word of mouth – what others said about you.  For a long time we’ve all known that many prospective employers go beyond the referees given to ask for feedback and impressions about working with a candidate for a role.
 
This sort of extra research is now easily done online.  The internet is a fantastic tool to access information and to connect us across the globe, without any concern for time zones or call costs or delays.
And it is precisely these factors that you need to be aware of if you are working on building or changing your career.
 
Social media profiles are not just the concern of business owners and those in the public eye. (Although it must be said that a few people in the public eye might be able to learn a lesson or two on better managing their social media activity and hence their reputation.) Even if you believe in the old phrase that any publicity is good publicity, surely you would not want every aspect of your personal life available for everyone and anyone to see on the internet?  If that is the case, be careful what you put on social media sites.
 
ImageMany people seem to forget the pervasiveness of social media. Regardless of your privacy settings, others will know that you are active on certain sites – and quite frankly that’s the purpose isn’t it? We want people to know what we have been up to – whether it is bragging about a celebration dinner at a special restaurant, or having achieved a personal fitness milestone, or sharing the great times you are having on holiday (while others are at work!)
The problem for many people, – especially those trying to get promoted or secure a job in another organisation is that our social media presence is just as much a part of the evaluation process as your résumé. Yet who puts as much thought into their social media activity as you do on your resume?
Every word of a resume is usually carefully crafted and placed to create the impression closest to the one we want.  You may wish to highlight your great sales records, or your finesse at dealing with conflict or your ability to present high quality and high impact documents.
 
Yet how many times have you thought carefully about the purpose of your social media activity? It seems that too many people view their social media activity as friends chit chat.
 
ImageThe main problem with that is that your online chat is stored, and is accessible after the fact by others. These people were not present at the time of the chat and will not have the context that gives conversations their meaning and their appropriateness.
 
Almost every one of us will google search a product or service provider before we contact them even to get a quote. When they have been referred by someone we trust, we will still search them to perhaps get another layer of detail such as the phone number of street address or pictures of the car colours available. And we would be naive to think that the same habits aren’t happening with regard to job search.
 
Many people google search their own name, and many of us have been known to search others as well.
I’ve lost count of how many times new clients have commented on something they read in my blog or on my LinkedIn profile or on my website at our first meeting. They have done a search on me and what they have found is in my social media content.
 
Think about what people will find when, not is, they search you and your name.
 
Are you confident that everything in your social media content including text, feeds, links and photos is consistent with the reputation and persona that you want for your career?
 
This is a fundamental area to manage in order to gain and maintain career success.
 
Remember that it is not only what you post, but also what your friends do. For example, I know someone who was tagged in an inappropriate photo taken by someone else, that was posted on that other person’s site.
Because the person I know was tagged, it came up on their social media feed and – you guessed it – was then seen by all of their contacts.
The result was a breach of the company social media policy and an unhappy employer and an unhappy employee.
 
Sure companies need to have good, clear social media policies.
Those of you who are seeking a promotion, or looking for another job, you need to consider your social media profile as another point of information about you that is accessible to a future boss.
 
My view based on professional and personal experience is that your career and career progression are built on four pillars:
Reputation – which we have been talking about here
Results – of curse what you do is critical and you need to demonstrate your ability to make a positive impact on the company.
Rapport – with colleagues and customers is essential, and your ability to quickly establish rapport is a factor beyond your interview
Relationships – how you build and maintain good and effective working relationships affects not only your working environment, but also the work environment fort hose around you.
 
And that is why being social media savvy is just as important for you as an individual as it is for any business.  Your social media content influences your reputation and therefore can impact the impression that others have of you.
 
Images in this post from freedigitalphotos.net
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