By Dr. Maria G. Hernandez
Latina Cubicle Confidential™
LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Tumbler — the social media options you have now are plenty. Posting your pictures or writing a personal blog might be something you are doing just for your friends and family, but your posts and pictures are also open to future employers.
In today’s labor market, your future employer has many candidates to choose from and reference checks are now looking well beyond a simple referral from your prior employer. There are laws about what a potential employer can ask about your work at a former employer. There is less guidance for recruiters who are always looking for candidates they can submit to employers — whether there is a job opening or not.
According to a study done by Reppler, a media identity monitoring firm, 91% of recruiters look at social media sites to assess candidates they will recommend to an employer. And while 69% will eliminate a candidate, 69% of recruiters will also recommend a candidate based on what they see on social media sites.
A great infographic of the details that recruiters look for in your social media identity is available at Mashable.
What does your social media activity say about YOU to a potential employer?
One important strategy is to use your Facebook page solely with friends and family and to monitor this carefully. It is the number one site recruiters will review, followed by Twitter and LinkedIn.
There are more controls now on Facebook regarding who can see your posts, who can post to your wall, and what you can remove. Take the time to manage that carefully. If someone thinks it’s cute to post a photo of you when you let loose and danced on the table at your cousin’s quinceñera — that might be something you limit to your family and closest friends. Everyone at the party knew you answered a dare to dance, but to an outsider, it’s hard to explain what happened before or after the photo was taken.
Another strategy is to be careful to use your social media sites with different intentions. LinkedIn is by far the most often used to highlight career interests and achievements, as well as to network with other like-minded professionals.
LinkedIn is a digital version of your resume and it is a statement about your networking and engagement within your professional circles. Take the time to make your profile as thorough as possible, have at least three references and make sure you build connections.
If you only have 5 connections after five years in your profession, a potential employer just might assume that you may be very smart but not that sociable. It is also a place to showcase your skills by answering questions and engaging in special interest groups.
If you decide to link your Twitter account to LinkedIn, consider having two accounts — one Twitter account can be directly associated with your professional work and one just for fun. As long as you have different emails, you can create different Twitter accounts with different profiles — and yes, different tweets related to your professional interests and personal activities!
Landing your ideal job in this market is very hard work. An employer will want to be sure you are a good fit and they want to be sure your personal brand is aligned with their corporate image.
Don’t take a chance that one tweet or one photo disqualifies you from your ideal job. Likewise, use your social media strategy to land that great opportunity and tweet about that ideal job.
Dr. Maria G. Hernandez has 20 years experience consulting in both the United States and Mexico to senior executives in Fortune 50 companies and facilitated change initiatives for elected officials and their staff. She has worked in academia, business, nonprofits, technology startups, and public agencies. For more information, visit Latina Cubicle Confidential™ on Facebook or on Twitter @SavvyLatinaInfo.