The 5 new rules for social media and job searching

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Though social media has made it easy to connect with friends, celebrities, influencers, and long-lost loves, widespread digital transparency has fundamentally changed job searching.

Or more to the point: how you’re perceived before, during and after you’re asked to come in for an interview. This makes your footprint on various popular mediums — Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, to name a few — a part of your overall applicant package.

Some experts go as far as to recommend certain profiles to be listed on your resume itself. If you’re in the market for a new gig and you haven’t paid much attention to the content you’re posting, here’s your wakeup call to tune-in. There are new rules now, and it’s essential to update your approach.

You should be writing content on LinkedIn

Some professionals are hyperactive on LinkedIn, while others have been slow to adapt.

Though you may not need to like and share content daily, career expert for TopResume Amanda Augustine says it’s in your best interest to express your expertise. How come? Well, for starters, LinkedIn makes it easy, thanks to its publishing platform.

Augustine explains this allows every member to write blogs showcasing their skill set and unique value, serving as a great conversation starter with recruiters and hiring directors.

If your career is more visual than verbal, you can cut back on the lengthy paragraphs and embed images within your posts. It’s a smart idea to get started ASAP, so you have at least a handful on your profile by the time you hit ‘apply.’

Be considerate of your industry

Here’s the deal, if your job has nothing to do with social media, it might not be essential for you to include it on your resume.

However, if you will interact with digital platforms in any way, career expert and partner at Potere Talent Nick Morrison says your one-pager much display how you’ve not only used social media but how you’ve utilized it effectively.

“Make sure you speak to the impact it had on the business overall and what your direct influence was,” he iterates.

And while the top hitters are obvious (just look at your search history), dependent on industry, other sites might make sense, too. As an example, Morrison says if you’re a developer, GitHub is a no-brainer, while Twitter may not matter as much.

You should do a social media audit frequently

So you’ve been with one company for the better part of three years, and it’s time to seek brighter pastures (with better titles and more zeros in your paycheck). In addition to freshening up your LinkedIn and your resume… an audit of your social media accounts is crucial.

Augustine reminds job seekers this includes Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and any other public-facing account that a potential future boss could stumble upon.

Even if you aren’t linking to them in a major way, you can pretty much guarantee you’ll be Googled, so it’s best to give them a critical eye. She suggests asking yourself these questions as you scroll through:

  • Do my posts demonstrate my personality, as well as my areas of expertise?
  • What message is my profile picture, headline, and posts sending to prospective employers?
  • Have I been actively managing this account? When was the last time I posted an update or shared new information?
  • Are my photos and posts work-appropriate? Is there anything I need to delete before I should include this account on my resume?

Consider a private account if you’re job searching.

In the office, you are technical, tactical and straightforward. You’re known as someone who delivers. But in your personal life? You detox and decompress from your hard-working attitude.

While that’s okay, Augustine says you may want to consider separate accounts if your work persona and your life persona are the opposite.

After all, according to one study, employers considered marijuana use, political rants, spelling mistakes, alcohol consumption, showing off wealth and revealing too much skin to be red flags.

If you make a private account, make sure to use a nickname or something that an employer couldn’t connect the dots to. Your friends will appreciate you exactly as you are — and professionals will see your solid soft and hard skills in a more buttoned-up manner.

Have a professional headshot on all accounts

Augustine says a LinkedIn profile is 40 percent more likely to be clicked on when it includes a professional headshot. And though you probably shouldn’t put an image on your resume, having image consistency across all your social profiles captures your brand. “Use this same photo for your Gmail profile picture if you’re using Gmail for your job-search communication.

Lots of companies are using Gmail for their work emails. If you email one of these recruiters, your Gmail photo will pop up — make sure it’s sending prospective employers the right message,” she adds.