Is your social media sabotaging your career?

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  • A third of employers reject candidates because of their social media profile, says Rubbi Bhogal-Wood. Which is why she's sharing her fast-working expert tips on cleaning up your digital act

    I’m starting off with the bad news. Job hunting has never been so competitive. Unemployment is ratcheting up by the day and redundancies are currently the highest since 2009 thanks to the economic effect of the pandemic. Is your social media sabotaging your career? To get ahead and stand out for all the right reasons – here’s the good news – it’s time to take control and give your social media a promotion.

    Social media when used smartly can help you land your next job, pivot into a new industry, or spread your wings in starting your own business. As a social media specialist and founder of Wild & Form Digital, I’ve empowered people to feel confident and knowledgeable about doing this vital work.

    Most recruiters and employers (almost 94%) use social media to search for talent. Fair enough you may think, but the scary part is that a third of employers reject candidates based on something they’ve seen in their social media profiles. Lesson 1 in my ‘Is your social media sabotaging your career ‘ masterclass – don’t think just because you haven’t listed your handles on your CV they won’t check them out anyway. The photos you post, the captions you create, even the grammar you use, will be all considered. 

    Is your social media sabotaging your career?

    Rubbi Bhogal-Wood at a TEDx talk (Photographer: Darren Robinson)

    1. Check yourself out

    Get ahead of any disasters and Google yourself to see what comes up. Clear your browser history before you do this as results are sometimes influenced by what you’ve already searched for. Put your name, education, and current employer into the search bar and see what the results show. 

    Chances are even if you’ve been mindful of what you have been posting on social, there’s probably some editing you can do to make a better impression and it is also worth checking, or tweaking, some of your privacy settings too. 

    2. Avoid Losing Touch

    Keeping in touch with the latest developments, opinions, and trends is vital especially if you’re currently out of work. You don’t want to come across as being ‘out of touch’ in an interview, nor do you want to start questioning your skillset and knowledge while waiting for that next opportunity to appear. 

    Look out for discussions that you can add value and insight to. Three ways to find opportunities to do this are through LinkedIn groups, Twitter chats, and searching for key industry terms as hashtags on LinkedIn (yes, they are now a thing over there too). 

    3. Don’t shrink yourself 

    Once you’ve found a social media channel that best showcases you and your career, embrace it! Why not write or film an opinion piece of your own? You’ll be surprised at the impact a short, informative, piece on social media can have on your visibility. There’s plenty of creative scope to demonstrate your knowledge – perhaps a mini IGTV series, weekly LinkedIn knowledge videos, daily Facebook group tips, or behind-the-scenes footage in Stories. 

    4. Don’t isolate yourself 

    Community spirit has never been more vibrant and supportive than is it now on social media. Regardless of whether you’re looking for a new job, thinking about pivoting into a new industry, or not knowing what your next career step is going to be, there’s a wonderful group of people out there waiting to help you. Instagram is brimming with accounts that are ready to serve you up daily support, share free and super-helpful knowledge, and connect with people who can help get you that bit closer to a stable income. The social media search bar will be your best friend if you’re willing to step out of your bubble. 

    5. Brand You

    Creating a brand for yourself might sound icky to some, but the job market isn’t going to get less busy over the next few months. Take the time to think about how you can curate all the best bits of your professional self in a relatable way that you can share on social so that a future employer or collaborator would be curious to know more about you. A great, free and slick tool to help you create brand templates is Canva. And don’t shy away from sharing a few details about you as a person either – employers are looking to hire not just for skill but also for someone with a personality that will best fit with their current team structure. 

    * Rubbi Bhogal-Wood is a social media educator and founder of Wild & Form Digital.

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