Social media mistakes and how to avoid them

In your search for a new role, social media should help create a positive personal brand. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can all be used to show achievements, interests, projects you’ve worked on as well as professional recommendations.

It can also showcase you as a thought leader or industry expert, list your attendance at trade fairs, all your promotions and the awards you may have won, as well as the networking groups you may be part of. However, they can also be accessed to show areas of your life you’d rather stay private.

Inappropriate comments or unflattering and professional pictures are prone to come back and haunt us, and many employers will Google you to see what’s online to protect themselves from anything they think could be considered as posing a risk of future embarrassment.

When looking at your personal footprint online, ask if you’re CV and your online profile match up. Do they present you in the best possible light that you’d be happy for your future employer to see? Are your personal social media channels properly secured, and privacy settings set up correctly, so only those you want to see private pictures you’ve posted can view them?

It’s also a worthwhile exercise to make sure that your LinkedIn photo is current, professional and all your information is accurate and up to date.

Posting during the working day also says a lot. If you are about to interview for a role, the hiring manager is fully aware of your current employment status and circumstances. If your role doesn’t warrant 20 non-work related posts a day, a constant feed of updates won’t look great and raises questions about your commitment, focus, and productivity.

Premature connecting. Yes, there is such a thing! We all should and do use the internet to scope out new potential employers and to educate ourselves on people’s backgrounds. Especially those who may be hiring or managing us, as they’re most likely to be in the public domain and free for all to see. That said, connecting with an interviewing panel in the early stages of the process gives an air of presumption and a feeling of overfamiliarity that can easily be awkward. It’s much better to wait until you are on their payroll before attempting to become part of their personal profile.