Employers are almost always checking you out online before making any hiring decisions. If you’re not currently looking for a job, that doesn’t mean you’re off the social media hook! Having a professional online presence says something about yourself to your colleagues as well. In the end, keeping a high level of professionalism online will make you, and the company you work for, look more respectable. Not to mention up to date, having professional accounts is becoming the norm!
Developing that online presence from scratch, can be a daunting task at first. Here are a few easy-to-follow tips to help you on that journey.
1. Have a professional photo
No, that cropped photo of you is not good enough. It can seem like a huge task but getting a professional photo isn’t actually all that difficult. There are tons of local photographers that offer free sessions for young people. If you can’t find something like that near you, find a friend with a professional camera. We all have that friend that dabbles in photography on the side. Offer to buy or make them lunch, dawn a dress shirt and find a good wall for photos. That’s all it takes!
2. Write an accurate and interesting bio
For Twitter, try to think of something that will make someone want to follow you.
For LinkedIn, stick to your job title. If you’re a student, mention that you’re looking for opportunities.
For all other platforms, have a short paragraph ready. I save mine in Evernote. It’s helpful when you’re first signing up for a website and they ask you to fill out an ‘about me’ section.
3. Share content related to your field
One of the best things you can do with your accounts is use them to share things related to your professional field. The occasional personal post is definitely great too, be sure to stay away from anything you wouldn’t want your boss or a colleague to see. If it’s something you would only show friends just email it to them instead, there are one too many examples of people posting photos on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and losing their job as a result, think before you post!
4. Make sure your LinkedIn is complete
Have you ever noticed that when you search for someone’s name, LinkedIn is almost always the first search result? That’s because Google loves LinkedIn. Not only should you set up a LinkedIn account, but you should also make sure your profile is completed. That includes adding relevant experience with a description (try to make it action – result oriented), as well as a bio (good thing you wrote that in step 2) and interesting tidbits like courses you’ve taken or publications you’ve written.
5. Keep your personal profiles private
Hopefully this has already been relayed to you a million times so I’ll make this brief, if Facebook if for friends and family, keep it that way. This means turning on all the privacy settings (spend a good 30mins on this) and making sure your posts aren’t public. Facebook has a bad habit of trying to make them that way. There’s a new trend where your employer or manager will add you on Facebook once you’re hired. Try to keep that in mind and adjust restrictions and privacy settings accordingly.
6. Use Google + for SEO advantages
Google+ is rumored to be a ghost town, which is absolutely false. There is a great community on Google+ but that’s only one of the benefits. The reason I first started using it is because Google uses the information you put into Google+ for their search results. This means that by populating it with content related to your field, a professional photo and an awesome bio, you just made yourself look a lot better online in only a couple of minutes. It’s definitely worth it!
Thanks for this piece! Do you recommend using a consistent professional photo across all platforms (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, etc.)? Thanks!
Hi, Caitlin! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I definitely recommend the consistent photi across platforms. That way if one of your Twitter followers sees you on LinkedIn they will immediately recognize you – we are visual people so more likely to remember pictures rather than names. Hope that is helpful! 🙂
I love that you call importance to these things that can make such a big impact, but that so many people overlook. Since all the action is in the conversation, it’s so easy to ignore the stuff you see when you log in. Those parts are public too!