By Mike Zammuto
Are your social media profiles impeding your career progress – or even preventing you from getting the job that you want? When a potential employer clicks over to your Facebook page and sees an embarrassing photo — perhaps from that one crazy night in college — it can kill your interview prospects. It’s a clear and present danger; the Web is rife with articles about What Not to Post on Facebook; in fact, some career experts advise simply removing your social media accounts during your job search process
This is certainly one solution, but is it the best one? Your social media account can hurt your career prospects, but it can also help them. While ill-advised social media posts can cause you to come across as disreputable or unprofessional, strategic social media posts can actually enhance your desirability among potential employers.
Spotlighting Your Professional Achievements
One thing all job seekers ought to include on their Facebook pages: easy access to their LinkedIn profiles. This may sound superfluous; after all, if a an employer can Google your Facebook account, couldn’t she just as easily locate your LinkedIn page? Probably, but including a link to your professional profile on your Facebook page shows that you are serious about your career, and it keeps the spotlight on your professional acumen. If you are using Facebook to network, it sends the clear signal that you are open to job offers!
Your Community Work
A lot of companies say that they are passionate about community service and social responsibility — and a lot of them actually mean it! You can reinforce your own charitable and philanthropic work on a resume; and reinforce the message on Facebook and LinkedIn. You can “like” the pages of all the charities and social organizations you support, and if you take place in a charity walk or run, or build a Habitat house, you can include the photos on your profile.
If you belong to any professional organizations or affiliations, list them, and like their pages. Are you a college senior or a recent graduate, still enjoying membership in a prestigious academic organization? Mention that, too.
Facebook can also highlight your hobbies, your family life, fitness activities and more. These are the kinds of things that are no longer included on a resume or CV, but on social networks, you will come across as a more well-rounded and human candidate — making you that much more appealing to recruiters and hiring managers.
A poorly-maintained social media profile can be your professional undoing — but, just as surely, an optimized and strategic social media page can actually boost your career prospects.
Mike Zammuto is the COO of Brand.com. The company provides services to connect brands directly with publishers, which in turn gives people access to news media.