“I’m not a businessman, I’m a business, man!” – Jay – Z
Take a journey with me. The year? 1999. Social media doesn’t exist and your social circle is much smaller; and your employer? Well your employer only knows you inside of working hours and that’s it! No Facebook, no LinkedIn, and no twitter. Fast forward to 2017 and much has changed. We now socially brand ourselves with our unique personalities, and anything out of “character” sticks out like a sore thumb. So how can you get around this? What happens if you say or did something you don’t want to world to know about, never mind your employer!? Here are my three tips on how to avoid a Social Media Identity Crisis.
If You Have Nothing Nice To Say… – Say it with me… “don’t say anything at all!” This simple little saying my parents told me when I was five has certainly done wonders. It’s no exception on social media. If you have any social media accounts (including LinkedIn) it’s extremely important to realize your character is on display 24/7. As you might have guessed, one thing that turns people off is inconsistency of character. It is so important to think before you type, or post that picture; your character is now out in the open and vulnerable.
What Is Your Brand – The best way I can explain this is that your personality and character is like your own personal business; your brand. Who will you be? If you market yourself as the introverted scholar, what happens when you’re tagged in a photo of the rager last week? You see what I’m getting at; it comes back to consistency of character and employers are looking for just that. The problem that social media has created for us is that the human species isn’t meant to be on display 24/7. We all have sides of us that we want people to appreciate, and there are other sides of us that we have yet to accept and acknowledge; never mind it being on display for a total stranger or even worse our future employer. So what can we do about this?
Mind Your Settings – Obviously you can’t be a hermit, or worse, somebody everyone else wants or perceives you to be. So what’s left? The best advice I can give is monitor your social media settings and platforms that you really use. If you’re not going to use a social media platform, it doesn’t make sense to have an account for it. For example get ready for it… I have never used instagram… (#sorryIguess) the reason? Because I don’t really care that people know what I’m doing; that’s just my personality. I’m all about value, what value would you be getting from a picture of my dinner (#chickennuggets) it doesn’t make sense to me. However maybe you love posting pictures of your adventures, or tweeting the latest trends of your interests. Bring value to your social circle and your employers will see the value you will bring to them. You also want to check your settings and make sure only your friends or contacts can see your posts (if you want them to). The worst thing is someone seeing something that wasn’t intended for them to see. Social Media, as we have found out, can be incredibly useful, but we need to recognize and respect the power of it as well.
Conclusion – Social Media is here and there aren’t many ways around it. Even if you choose to not have a social media account many employers are looking for candidates with Social Media accounts. Why? Because it’s an easy way to vet candidates before they even set up an interview. What are they looking for? Consistency of character. The best advice I can give is for any posts on social media to really align to the image you’d like to portray in your professional life. I want to hear your thoughts? How much of an impact do you feel social media has in the workplace? Let us know in the comments!