GUEST BLOG: 5 steps to being professional on social media

UoY Careers Balloon illy Guest blog written by: Joe Hill, Content & Online PR Executive

Stepping into the professional world for the first time can sometimes catch people off-guard. Whereas preparing for a job interview once meant prepping your answers and cleaning your shoes, employers can now find out a lot about you before you step foot into the interview room.

The LinkedIn profile has become central to most companies’ hiring and recruiting process. In fact, it was found in a recent study by Jobvite that 90% of employers use LinkedIn as part of the initial employee search. It’s not just the job-specific social networks that employers are looking at; two thirds admit to looking at Facebook profiles before hiring, and 54% would look over Twitter accounts.

An unsuitable social media profile is the last reason that you would want to lose a job opportunity. To make sure you avoid any slip-ups, follow these tips to staying professional online.

  1. Use the privacy settings available

The first and most obvious step towards a professional social media profile is making it private. Employers know that social media is largely used by individuals for personal profiles, and it will be viewed as such if the profile is private and not available for the world to see. A recent study showed that as much as 58% of the UK doesn’t apply privacy settings to all of their Facebook posts. Make your profile private and if you find yourself confused by the array of options, follow this step by step guide to securing your Facebook and Twitter.

  1. Keep things positive

In most working environments an employee will be expected to keep within a company’s code of conduct and be seen as representing the company’s views. When looking for a new employee, anything found outside of these lines will be held against you if it is seen to be inflammatory or controversial. While having an opinion will not be viewed upon negatively, provocative posts on a public profile will.

  1. Know your friends and followers

There is an old adage that you can judge someone by the company that they keep. While this should be taken with a pinch of salt, you should keep tabs on which friend requests you accept. If you don’t know the person, be aware that accepting them as a friend will mean that they’ll have access to your profile and information.

  1. Keep working matters in the workplace

Companies will usually have non-disclosure agreements in place that you will sign at the start of your employment. This will state that there is company information and assets that shouldn’t be shared with people outside of the company, either to protect the company or its clients. Keeping discussions of work private online should also be applied to colleagues and salary, of course, a misplaced comment could land you in hot water!

  1. Don’t let your friends get you in trouble

Facebook is constantly evolving its privacy settings to provide customisable options for you. One of the more recent features introduced is the ability to review a post that you have been tagged in before it appears on your profile. Use the privacy options to review your friends uploads.

All things considered, don’t forget that a lot of companies will have common sense! Don’t wipe your profile in order to protect yourself, showing that you have an active and full social life can actually work in favour for your job prospects. Steer clear of anything that would tarnish your professional reputation by following these tips and you’ll be well on the road to landing that dream job.