Jamaaludeen Khan, internationally acclaimed trainer and strategic consultant in social media, tells us how we can advise candidates to make their social media profiles ‘employer friendly.’
Recently, it came to light that some employers were requesting candidates’ personal login details for sites such as Facebook so they could examine the candidate’s private social media activities and associations.
According to Khan, who will be speaking at ITWeb’s Social Media Summit next week, this is because hiring the wrong employee is costly.
“If they didn’t think social data was incredibly valuable, they wouldn’t go to such lengths,” he says.
Even though asking for passwords is now illegal in many places, and generally frowned upon in others, employers and recruitment agencies still trawl through what is available publicly to make an attempt at ensuring they hire the right people.
Khan recommends that anyone who is looking for work in this day and age bears this in mind and takes the following steps to come across favourably on social media:
1. Always be crystal clear in everything you put out on social media
Make sure that you are clear in your bio, what your interests are and where your expertise lies. Jokes and inspirational messages might seem like a good idea when you read them, but they don’t give any real indication of who you are.
According to Khan, location is also something that many people leave off – whether intentionally or because they don’t realise how important it is to someone looking to do business with you.
Stick to a general theme, he says, when you post public updates. Comment only on what you’re knowledgeable about and avoid getting swept up in matters that don’t concern you and are of no interest to your audience. When someone looks at your latest stream of updates, it should indicate important things about you.
“People follow you on social media for a purpose so if you disregard that purpose, they’ll unfollow you,” Khan says.
2. Always be true to yourself
Khan notes that people tend to adopt the social media personalities of others they follow and admire. If you do this, you do yourself a disservice because anyone meeting you in the real world will be expecting someone else.
While it’s important to be yourself, you should be your best self. Constantly complaining, getting into arguments and being negative are turn-offs for organisations that might be looking to hire you.
In addition, spelling and grammar are very important. Prospective employers will want someone who comes across as educated and who pays attention to detail. On social platforms where word count is limited, Khan suggests finding a different way of phrasing something rather than using “SMS abbreviations”.
3. Everything you say has a consequence
“In order to advance in any area of life, you have to be careful what you say,” Khan points out. Social media is no different.
What you say, how you say it and what attitude you portray on social media will be taken as an indication of what you’re like in real life. If your social media profile is public, be aware of how the things you say might be interpreted by others who might not share your views.
Your social media posts don’t go away; they become indexed by search engines and archived by the sites themselves. Words said in a moment of anger can haunt you for the rest of your life.
Khan left us with this advice: constantly concentrate on cultivating a “searchable reputation” so that anyone who wants to find more information about you can find exactly what you want them to.