I routinely have the opportunity to speak with aspiring public relations and marketing professionals and they all ask me about social media and its impact on their budding careers. While I'm not a fan of a "cookie cutter" approach to anything, I do believe there are some pretty clear guidelines that should be followed if one wants to be taken seriously in job interviews and after they're hired. Building and maintaining credibility is the cornerstone to managing your personal brand.
1. Social Selfie Elimination
This may sound harsh, but as a person who has reviewed the social media profiles of hundreds of prospective job candidates, I'm not a fan of selfies. Sure, you want to show your friends how awesome you look in front of Niagara Falls or how ripped your abs are after your latest CrossFit workout - there's nothing wrong with that, right? In theory, one here and there won't hurt. But when your public social media profiles feature hundreds, I am left wondering when you have time to engage in meaningful interactions with real humans.
2. No LinkedIn Profile
Whether you're interested in networking, growing your customer base or looking for the next stop on your career path, you should have a profile on LinkedIn that includes a real profile picture. Yes, there are many who believe it's crawling with spammers and/or old flames - this may be true. However, it's also an ideal online environment to showcase your writing ability, dedication to building your connections and provides a window into your employment history. Many recruiters are using this as a tool to source candidates based on the information these profiles contain - take care to create yours with that in mind and also make a commitment to update it on a regular basis.
3. Diss the Like
Study after study have shown that a person has less than a minute to make a positive first impression. With that in mind, put your best foot forward by choosing your immediate actions and words wisely. Practice a firm handshake with a trusted friend or family member, introduce yourself by your first and last name and also introduce those around you, if you're standing in a group. This may sound pretty elementary, but speak in complete sentences that don't include adding in the word "like" in front of every four words. Making meaningful connections is something we all need to do in our professional and personal lives and mastering these simple social "must haves" will serve you well.
Do you have any other guidelines you think should be added to this short list?