Are you a social butterfly? Do you post everything from your pets to your pizzas for all to see, admire and comment on?
I have to admit I am not a huge social user. I have the standard accounts of course, I am not a complete recluse, I just like to be selective in what I post. You see, I love photography, for me capturing a moment in time blends perfectly with writing, it is the best combo, like cookies and cream or rhubarb and custard, they just fit together.
My social accounts act as a sort of extension to my CV, they portray snippets into who I am and what is important to me, sort of like a highlights reel. The pictures that appear are the moments that make the cut, from the hundreds of photographs I take, these are the ones that are selected for a specific reason.
Let me give you an example, see the image at the top of this blog, let’s use that for some context. I went on a day trip recently to visit Arundel Castle and spend some time with my family, exploring the grounds, watching the medieval shows and generally just goofing about.
Now, I took lots of photographs that day in search of what I felt was the perfect shot. I could have taken a pic of the guy sat near to me who was revealing a little too much ‘rear cleavage’ with the caption “cracking day”! Or perhaps a questionable selfie with an unsuspecting statue in the rose garden but as much as I am sure they would raise a smile from some people in my friends list, I am not sure they convey the right sort of message for me.
Halfway through the day it started to pour with rain, huge fat goblets that soaked us through instantly, so we took shelter under a group of trees. As I looked up to make sure they would be a sufficient shelter for us to huddle under I saw the shot that I had been searching for all day. Naturally, I shoved my beloved family back out into the rain, so I could take the picture, straight up from where I stood. No filters, no cropping, just up.
This was the image that told a story from a different angle, not just another picture of the castle like you could buy in the gift shop, but an image that says the location is not important, if you just stop and take a moment to look at things from a different perspective there is so much to see, even in the rain.
Of all of the images I took that day, this is the one that made it on to my social account, it took time, consideration and patience to find the one I wanted but for me, it was worth the effort. Why? Well, whether I like it or not, privacy online is not a guarantee, what I put out there could be seen by anyone. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing, thinking of it the other way, these are quite possibly the first impressions someone will have of me, and that person could end up being pretty influential in my career (yes I am an eternal optimist!).
I know many people would like to think that I am a little bit crazy to go to so much effort and perhaps a little paranoid but it would seem that I might just be on to something here. According to www.thisismoney.co.uk a recent survey showed that seven in ten potential employers use social media to nose on candidates before interviewing and hiring. Seven in ten! That is higher than I expected it to be, I was just thinking about someone influential stumbling across my feed, not actively seeking it out.
This brings into question how important it may be for people to be more careful with what they post on their social channels way ahead of them even considering a new job. What you post now will still be there next year, and in years to come, what is funny now may just be what loses you an opportunity later.
It's not just the image that you post, what about the comments you make, the group's you join and also the time of day that you post that hilarious workplace selfie.
A lapse in judgement when venting about your previous employer, a feed full of negativity and a gloating post about how you bent the truth to get the day off, can do just as much to put off a potential employer as a questionable photograph from a night out.
If your social accounts are your calling card, what do you think they say about you? Go ahead take the last five posts from your fave channel and gather them together. Do you feel they portray you? Are they an accurate representation of what you stand for, are interested in and where you want to go in life?
If a potential employer or a new work colleague was to add you as a friend, do you feel that they would get the right impression of you from your pic’s?If you are just realising that your social accounts might not be your best representation, then let’s get cracking on how to turn it around.Switching everything to private is always the first thought, if they can’t see it then there is nothing to judge right! That was my first thought too but according to Careerbuilder.com fifty-seven percent of employers are less likely to call someone in if the candidate is a ghost online.
Conducting a self-social-audit is probably the better course of action. If you can do a thorough purge of unwanted posts and photos while adding in things that could benefit you, then you are more likely to be on the right track. Consistency is important so don’t forget to update all of your profiles. Especially for all you LinkedIn users, make sure they are an accurate representation of what is shown on your CV, no grandstanding for the audience, keep it real and accurate.
Check your user names, @123lazygirl321, and @999letsdoshots999, may not give the impression that you would hope.
I know you can't live your life wondering if someone important is watching at all times, and perfection is not what we are going for here, but your social account does still have to be you but perhaps a genuine and yet 'censored' portrayal is more prudent.
If social is indeed the new covering letter, then make sure yours is a well-considered professional representation that contributes to and illustrates your CV.
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