I'll be the first to admit that I love social media. I spend most of my waking day browsing my Facebook news feed, but I never realised that it could be a hindrance on my career.
I'm a freelance writer, meaning that I use social media as a way to keep in contact with what my clients are up to, news that's happened within their company and of course, see what my friends are doing with their day - even if the endless supply of holiday photos are enough to make me want to pack up and move halfway across the world.
That being said, I'm no stranger to posting my own updates. I like to share photos of where I'm working and even overshare some of the things that annoy me the most. Heck, I even share that I get fuel-anxiety when the petrol light on my car dips to three bars but we're a nation of over-sharers, right?
However, some of the posts I've put on social media years ago didn't give off the right impression for someone wanting to hire me. Let's face it - just turning 18 and having your friends post your first drunken photo on Facebook isn't the most appealing for an employer, is it?
Some employers or clients are more interested in you than your work and might choose to check-up on your public social media pages because:
- They want to get a feel of who you are, outside of your resume
- They want to know that you're sensible and (can be) professional
Now, I'm not saying that you should be super formal and show none of your personality on your Facebook page, but always check that posts you don't want to be visible to somebody in your professional circle aren't made public (i.e. make your Twitter profile private and change your audiences on Facebook).
I'm saying this because I've made this mistake before and it's put potential clients off me. They saw that I like to let my hair down and have fun when I'm not working and unfortunately, it didn't sit with their "brand values" and the type of person they were looking to hire.
There are two ways to look at this. Maybe they weren't the right client for me; maybe it was fate.
Whatever their reasoning was, it'll be different for every client or employer that you work for.
The 'brand' of your social media profile should reflect you and whilst there's a fine line between sharing bits of your actual, real, non-working life, remember to keep unprofessional statuses off your public profile and share them with friends-only!