As we all near Graduation and our entrance into the ‘Real World’ draws ever closer, our Social Media habits must adapt and change to reflect this. Instead of filling our newsfeeds with photos of last Wednesday’s Social people are starting to dedicate time to creating, updating and maintaining LinkedIn profiles. On average we spend nearly 4 hours per day on Social Media, this equates to almost half a working day (Nyman, 2014). So it’s not really surprising that recruiters are turning to Social Media in order to find candidates for vacant roles within companies. The info graphic shows just how many jobs are allocated through Social Media.
If you’re yet to embrace Social Media in a professional capacity, you’re already late to the party (BBC, 2013). With an online profile you can begin to tell a story about yourself to potential employers. Effectively it’s an interactive CV. BUT it needs to be done properly. It’s not just LinkedIn and the carefully constructed profile that you’ve created on here which will be scrutinised. Every other aspect of your Online Presence will be scoured by savvy recruiters, and even the nosy public.
The case of Justine Sacco shows just how important it is to maintain a professional Online Identity across all Social Media. An inappropriate tweet en route to South Africa resulted in her being fired from her job (Ronson, 2015). The general public leapt on her and she had to leave South Africa after hotels refused to accommodate her and her personal safety couldn’t be guaranteed. Even a Buzzfeed article featuring all her questionable tweets was published.
Obviously Justine Sacco is a pretty good example of how wrong things can go on Social Media, but her case is by no means a one off. Your Online Identity has been central to you gaining the job in the first place for some time, but it is now also a key factor in determining whether you remain employed. Activities such as Blogging can really help to boost your profile; they demonstrate traits such as creativity, dedication and motivation (The Employable, 2014). But before you jump straight in, Blogging is something that needs to be done ‘properly’. Potential employers are not interested in the incoherent ramblings of your inner mind. Make it personal, but make it interesting, intellectual and truthful.
I think the ‘authentic’ aspect of building an online professional identity is important, but has its limitations. Obviously things such as educational attainment and employment record should be honest, and are things which employers can and will check. We’ve all claimed on CV’s in the past that we love nothing more than country walks and a classic novel, when really at 18 we’re more likely to be in the local club downing shots. I don’t personally think this affects the ‘authenticity’ of our professional identity providing it doesn’t interfere in our ability to do the job at hand.
Building a successful online identity takes hard work, perseverance and dedication, but beware, it only takes one ill-advised tweet to destroy it all.
BBC, 18 October 2013, ‘Job Hunting: How to Promote Yourself Online”, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25217962 Accessed: 5/3/2015
The Employable, 28 October 2014. ‘How Blogging can help you get a Job’. http://www.theemployable.com/index.php/2014/10/28/blogging-can-help-get-job/ Accessed: 5/3/2015
Nyman, N. 13/3/2014. ‘Using Social Media in your Job Search’. http://moocs.southampton.ac.uk/websci/2014/03/13/ill-tweet-job-spec-snap-cv/ Accessed: 5/3/2014
Ronson, J. 12/2/2015. ‘How one stupid tweet blew up Justine Sacco’s Life’, New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/magazine/how-one-stupid-tweet-ruined-justine-saccos-life.html?_r=2 Accessed: 5/3/2015
Source of Info-graphic Statistics:
http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/by-the-numbers-a-few-important-linkedin-stats/ Accessed: 5/3/2015
http://blog.capterra.com/top-15-recruiting-statistics-2014/ Accessed: 5/3/2015