Are you hiding behind an online mask? Could your profiles harm your career?
How to present the ‘Real You’ on Social Media
Creating and maintaining an online presence is more relevant than ever when it comes to promoting who you are, maximising career opportunities and expanding your social network. The question is, does your social media profile accurately reflect who you are?
On social media sites, our profiles are presentations of who we are, but through societal and environmental influences, many of us are driven by competition, achievement and status – leading to the creation of profiles that portray an ‘ideal self’ and eliminating many of our ‘real’ components.
Taking time to re-evaluate your social media profile so that everything about your online persona is reflective of your offline persona is worth its weight in gold. With time, effort, energy and persistence, you can present your attributes, your characteristics and your personality in their true colours – and create an online presence that will accomplish the goals that will align your real self with your ideal self.
For success, use these steps:
Make sure you are picture perfect
A social media profile photo becomes your daily visual identity to many people in your close network and beyond – and however unfair it may seem, it plays a role in how an employer decides if they’ll hire you and how competent they perceive you to be. (Over 76% of employers check a candidate’s social media profile before hiring). The prominence (and consequences) of your virtual image is here to stay, so making a savvy image choice is key.
Know your audience
The images you use should bring you to life in a relatable way, to draw out what marks your individuality – perhaps it’s a clever detail or accessory, or maybe it’s just an enviably sleek, tailored appearance. The key is to choose an image that looks like you – in a natural and relaxed setting, – one where you aren’t trying too hard but still appear confident and relatable.
Think: Content, Content, and Content!
Good rule of thumb – construct each public profile as if you were sharing it with your boss or prospective client. But you don’t need to be too straight-laced either. A few handy guidelines:
Facebook – be a positive and happy you. Share articles about things you like and avoid complaining, putting up intentionally vague posts or oversharing.
Twitter – keep your language clean, and be meaningful when you tweet – nobody wants to hear about your latest woes or the person who upset you on the road yesterday. Post, re tweet, and like interesting articles which can start conversations with like-minded professionals – Twitter can be a really powerful tool.
LinkedIn – remember that this is a professional network so keep it up-to-date; treat it as an online CV to showcase your experience – and try to get a broad selection of recommendations to support it.
Using your alter-ego to get yourself a job or a promotion isn’t going to work! The rules for making a good impression are the same whether it’s via email, over social media or in person. Don’t be loose-lipped when voicing opinions on social media platforms. Save the heated political debates for another time. If you wouldn’t say it to a client or employer in person, then it’s not a topic for social media.
Keep it ship-shape
Maintain your image – you work hard to keep yourself looking presentable in the ‘real world’, so don’t allow your virtual image to let you down. Update your profile so that anyone looking at it will see a reflection of the real you, and when an employer does check out your credentials, there’ll be no surprises.
It all boils down to presenting yourself and communicating in a way that you would in a face-to-face situation. Let your social media profile be a window for the world to discover the person you really are.
Until next month…