Take Control of your Web and Social Media Footprint

With the power of the internet, employers can see into their potential employees' personal lives like never before.

Employers are looking for people with the personality, attitude, and values that match their organisation's culture. No matter how strong your CV and credentials, if your online presence is offensive or inappropriate then this will have a massive impact on your chances of landing that dream job.

All of these will kill your job prospects

If you have publicly-accessible social presences that demonstrate any of the following you are damaging your career potential:

  • negative comments regarding a previous employer;
  • bad grammar and poor communication skills;
  • inappropriate / distasteful / inflammatory comments or pictures;
  • any mention of drugs;
  • posts about drinking;
  • discriminatory comments.

It's rare to find a sector in which your employer wouldn't care about all of these, especially as two of them involve things prohibited by law.

This might seem terribly obvious, but it really isn't. People are constantly being caught out doing the stupidest things on social media: for example, boasting about calling in sick when they're not.

No problem, I'll just set all my social accounts to 'friends only'.

What if your hiring manager or recruiter sends you a request to connect?

Think about how you come across on any social platform you use

With some social platforms (most notably, LinkedIn) it's very easy to keep work time and play time separate. If you're on LinkedIn you're looking to network and share information. With Facebook the emphasis is different: there's a blur between colleagues, friends, family, even casual acquaintances. You might be confident that your profile doesn't reflect badly on you, what about your Facebook friends?

Can you be certain than someone won't post something inappropriate on your page at just the wrong time?

If you're worried that your social profile on any platform could count against you, then you either need to moderate your page very carefully and take advantage of all the controls you are given to do this, or you need to have separate public and private profiles.

In PR & Communications your online presence is extremely important

Not having an inappropriate social presence is really just the bare minimum: there is so much more that can be done. Indeed, if you work in digital media, you are at a disadvantage if you don't have a web footprint of your own, independent of any company you work for or represent.

You need a strong social media footprint at the very least.

Part of your role will be to promote your clients online with an appropriate tone of voice. Most hiring managers are social media savvy - they WILL be looking you up! If you see this as an intrusion into your life, then you're looking at it the wrong way. You can leverage social media to bolster your CV and to create exactly the right impression with potential employers.

PR involves building brands. Show employers you can do this by building your own.

Enhance your status. Whether you are in media sales, business development, marketing, client services or account management, the value of a strong professional network on more than one social media platform just cannot be under-estimated. Aside from the vital social proof it delivers, your network could help you grow your knowledge and skills, and even land you your dream job.

Demonstrate your ability and aptitude

If you have knowledge or insight, share it: offer commentary. At its most simple, this could involve posting articles or current events that interest you with a short comment to show that you're read it. You could tag contacts who might be specifically interested. 

To take it a stage further, start your own blog on a topic that interests you where you can publish longer and more detailed thoughts (or become a contributor on an already-established blog). Combine this with insightful comments on other blogs or on digital media news and discussion websites and you're on your way to becoming an industry commentator.

Be sure that every step of the way you tie all your activity together with your social profiles and your networks and feed back what you've learnt to your contacts. Foster discussion, let others tell their stories and share their insights too.

You are going to be perceived as someone with their finger on the pulse of the industry, and you will be demonstrating many of the skills involved in PR for the web.

Recruiters are looking for you!

Here's a final thought; good recruiters such as PRFutures spend a lot of our time scouring the web for people that look like they'd be a good fit for our clients, now or in the future. Not all our roles are advertised. If you are visible on the web and your web footprint says 'professional at the top of their game' then you might just find amazing job offers coming your way.