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It’s hard not to follow the election this year. With only a few weeks to go until polling day the debates are becoming more animated and campaigns heated. With candidates using every angle possible to reach potential voters, this year I’ve noticed social media playing a much more active role. Political parties are trying to capitalise on ready made audiences through the likes of facebook and twitter to communicate with supporters and engage with the public. Nicola Sturgeon even runs her own twitter account personally, commenting on tweets and debates as they happen.
Social media has become part of our daily lives, both at home and at work, often blurring personal and professional boundaries. Through Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and other sites we are all now able to update the online world of our movements at the click of a button. This has led me to think about the use of social media in securing a new role – how much attention do prospective employers give to our likes, tweets and posts, and could it help or hinder us in securing a new job?
Linkedin is fast becoming a vital tool to make professional connections, join networking groups and keep updated on movements in the workplace. Employers will almost certainly look at linkedin profiles, to browse the background, network and professional interests of potential candidates – it is easily accessible and offers a different slant to the content of a CV. However, people often fail to consider that facebook and twitter can be just as accessible. Many people are too quick to post information online, showing little caution for privacy settings or regard for who may be watching their moves or feeds.
Whether it’s looking at your Linkedin status, twitter feeds, or photos posted to Facebook, your online presence may be more significance than you think. Employers can use all these research tools when screening potential candidates for a new role. This may have advantages, but beware of the pitfalls – if a prospective employer finds any online information that they deem to be inappropriate this could easily prejudice your chances of getting the job or securing an interview. Social media is unavoidable and important today, but it’s always good to consider your online image and how it may be deemed by an onlooker.
• Be careful about who you join as a friend or contact and who you accept, don’t be worried about rejecting people if you feel being connected to them may be detrimental to your profile.
• With professional networks such as Linkedin, keep the content professional. Constant feeds about how your day is going or what you are doing that evening are unprofessional and can reduce your business credibility.
• Consider the appropriateness of photos you post online, and keep a check on the photos others are posting of you – you can be tagged on photos without your knowledge, but try to keep a handle of your online images.
• Avoid talking about your current employer, prospective employer or job search online. One of the golden rules when looking for a new job is to be respectful and not to bad mouth your current employer – this makes prospective employers wary about employing you.
• Check privacy settings – online media such as facebook to keep in touch with friends on a personal level is of course important, but keep the information restricted to friends and personal contacts and avoid bad language.
So, while use of social media is vital today and can bolster your image and chances of securing a new job, or even running a successful election campaign, be cautious about it’s use and remember one false click could hinder your long term career.