​To Post or Not to Post: An Important Question in the Digital Age

Last week we talked about cleaning up your social media stream. If you haven’t taken that step already, we recommend reviewing that post now and getting to it.

So what should you post? It’s important to note that anything you post online establishes a personal brand (and yes, everyone has one). Your personal brand is simply how you appear to the world, and what you post on social media plays a major role.

Here are some things that will help you establish an online personal brand that helps you in your career instead of hurting you.

1. Assess your current online brand and make sure it matches up with what you want to portray
Make a list of positive attributes you want to convey to potential employers. Things like:

  • professional
  • polished
  • responsible
  • intelligent

And make a list of negative attributes you don’t want to convey (we all have some). These would be things like:

  • moodiness
  • negativity
  • defensiveness
  • lack of tact

Ask yourself before your post, does this post match up with the brand I want to convey?

2. Keep your profile up to date
Make sure all information is up to date on all your social profiles, all the time. If you change jobs, make sure one profile doesn't still list you at the first job you ever had. Be consistent.

3. Consider your career goals
Keep your career goals in mind when you’re posting online. Share your passions around these goals—relevant articles, exciting things that are happening in your field. If you're in finance, for example, share relevant articles about interesting things happening in your field.

4. Be genuine
Post as you normally would about your hobbies and interests if they're work appropriate (art, travel, events, etc.). Don’t try to create an online persona that doesn’t match up with the best parts of yourself.

5. Be thoughtful about you profile picture
Consider that your profile picture and any other visible pictures are a big part of your brand. The profile photo in particular is literally the first thing someone sees when they search for your profile. If you're in the creative field, a photo that shows a little more of an interesting personality is often great, but a professional headshot is best for many careers.

6. Make sure others will find your content valuable
If it's something you really think others will find interesting that's work appropriate, then post it. If you’re making multiple posts about your food or how bored you are, then you might want to keep it to yourself.

7. Remember that recruiters are watching
Knowing that over 79% of recruiters will use what they find on social media to make decisions about your future, simply ask yourself before you post: is this something that supports the personal brand I want to convey, or does it undermine my opportunities?

The Top 7 Types of Social Media Posts that Will Hurt Your Career

You’ve polished your resume, carefully chosen your interview suit, and done your research on your prospective employer. You’re ready to get the job of your dreams. But out in the amorphous cloud of the internet is something that could hold you back—your social media accounts.

If you’re looking for a new job, going for a promotion, or if you just want to keep the job you have, it’s a good time to tidy up your online image because it’s a good bet that the people who hold the future of your career in their hands are checking it out.

Here are seven things you want to clean off your social media accounts and never post again:

1. Negative posts about jobs, employees, or coworkers. While you may have legitimate complaints, social media is not the place to air your grievances. It shows an extreme lack of professionalism, and will give recruiters pause no matter how fantastic your experience or resume may be. And if you’re complaining about your current job, there’s a good chance you can get fired.

2. Pictures or posts about partying with your friends. This is another type of post that calls your professionalism into question. Will you call in sick on Mondays? Will you be out doing things that will embarrass the company? Can they really trust you to make good decisions when you’re making bad ones on social media? Have fun and take pics, but keep them off the internet.

3. Posts or rants about political or religious issues. Since the 1840s a common rule of etiquette has been to never discuss politics or religion in polite company. While the internet is rarely polite, this rule of etiquette still holds true. It’s great to have opinions and to be passionate about things, but when you post these opinions to social media, you are posting them to the world. What you need to consider is that a current or future employer may hold a very different opinion from you and your posts (right or wrong) will impact how they think about you.

4. Excessive swearing or vulgarities. If it’s something that would not be acceptable to say or show at work, it probably won’t cast a good light on you in social media.

5. Posts about personal drama. Generally, no one wants to read about personal drama online, and posting it indicates that you’re not good at dealing with it, and the recruiter may wonder if you’ll bring that drama into the workplace. If you’re going through a tough time, call up a good friend and vent; don’t post it for the the world to see.

6. Online Game Posts. Lots of people play these games, but if a recruiter sees the game posting to your timeline every couple of hours, they may wonder how you use your time.

7. Horrible grammar and typos. No one expects your online posts to be perfect, but if they’re riddled with bad grammar and typos, it makes you look lazy or incompetent.

Take a step back from your social media feeds and try to look at them as if you were a stranger seeing them for the first time. Have you posted any of the above seven things? If so, delete them. Do they paint a picture of an intelligent, well-adjusted, relatable person? If not, clean it up. And then after your major tidy up, think before you click “Post.”

5 Tips to Rock Your Next Cover Letter

We cannot stress the importance of including a well thought out cover letter with every resume that you submit. In many cases, your cover letter is your first impression to a new potential employer. The tricky thing about first impressions is, you only get one. Follow our tips below to ensure your cover letter gives the amazing first impression you deserve.

1. Customize it. Not all jobs and employers are the same, so not all cover letters should be the same either. Customize your cover letter by including the name of the hiring manager (not sir, madam, or “whom it may concern”). If you do not know the name of the hiring manager, a simple call to the HR department should do the trick. In addition to customizing your greeting, you will want to include points addressing why you want to work for that company specifically in addition to highlighting your previous work experience that is relevant to the position.

2. Name Drop. If you know someone at the company or you learned about the open position from someone at the company, don’t be afraid to include that person’s name in your cover letter. Many employers prefer to hire a candidate that someone at the office can vouch for. Having a connection to the company can increase your chances of landing the job.

3. Flatter Them. Be sure to mention what you find attractive about the employer and what you feel their specific strengths are. Tell the company why you’re applying there instead of just any place that will cut you a paycheck (regardless of if that’s true). Flattery goes a long way.

4. Don’t be Modest. Tell the company what your strengths are, mention all of your relevant qualifications, and provide excellent references. Employers are probably perusing dozens of resumes, so help them out by telling them why you are the best candidate for the job.

5. Proof It. The quickest way to get your resume tossed in the trash? Spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in your cover letter. Spell check is not enough as auto corrections can cause mistakes that still stand out to the human eye. Often it is easier to catch someone else’s mistakes than to catch our own so we recommend having someone else proof read your resume before you send it out.

In summary, it is important to put your best foot forward while searching for a new job. An amazing cover letter is the best way to make a positive first impression on a potential employer.