Social Media

The 'DOs' and DON'Ts' When Making A Career Move

It's well known that the way employers recruit and people find jobs has changed dramatically in the last few years. The days of having to read through magazines for job opportunities are more or less over, and CVs in the post are a now a quaint custom from another era. Times are changing quickly and it may not be too long before even sending a CV by email begins to look a little 'Old School,' particularly with the rise in popularity of the social networking sites. All this is good news for applicants and employers; never has so much information on career and employment opportunities been so readily available and so easy to explore. However, there is another side to the Social Media age that is easily overlooked,and that's the need to control the image you project.

In the past, work life could be easily separated from home and personal life. When applying for a job, you had complete control over the image you wanted to project. A nice typeface, some colour on the CV and perhaps a nice photo with some 'interests and actives' at the end would give the reader all they needed to form a favourable impression about you. But today, the once mutually-exclusive worlds of work and play are now becoming increasingly blurred. Sure, LinkedIn is work and Facebook is personal, but they now often overlap and it is important to remember that it has been well-reported how employers are looking at social media sites. This trend is only going to increase and, if anything, may soon be the 'norm' in the employer's selection process. That's why it's now more important than ever to manage your image and be careful when posting personal details and pictures about yourself on the Web, especially if you are considering your next career move and keen to make the right impression.

But it's not all bad news and 'Big Brother' watching you. You can turn this to your advantage and present yourself in a positive light to friends, colleagues and potential employers alike. Below are just a few tips from Resources Group, based on our experience and the feedback from the thousands of people we have helped in the last few years, which we hope will be of some use and an 'aide memoire' for those about to take the plungeinto the job market.

First steps...

OK, you have a professional CV ready and are starting to email. But remember, the first thing an employer will see is your email address in their inbox, so make sure you have a sensible sounding one. It's staggering to see just how many applications we see from people using 'joke' email addresses: how is a potential employer going to take you seriously if your email address is 'Beerybloke@' or 'Crazygirl@' ?! Even random letters and numbers would be better! So, before you do anything make sure your address is neutral and if it isn't, create a new address for your applications.

Adapt and tailor your covering email

Emails make it easy to send multiple applications quickly, but it is best to avoid the temptation to 'blanket' email with 'round robin' style covering letters with no effort to adapt the covering note. This looks lazy to the recipient, so always try to address your application individually and add a little on why the job is of interest and why you would be suitable.

Check your social network pages - here are some “Dos and Don'ts”

DON'T…

Top rule - don't post any photos on a site that you wouldn't show your mother! Sure, pictures of having fun, sports, parties, family is all fine, but not a shot of the morning after the night before! And definitely NOT anything that could possibly be considered 'compromising' or 'unflattering'. Also avoid saying anything uncomplimentary about individuals or organisations - always keep it positive!

Other tips to help protect your profile and information include:

  • Avoid using the 'Recommended settings' option - this means your personal information, photos etc will be shared with everyone. Try to use more secure settings instead.
  • Avoid putting your address and telephone phone number on social networks.
  • Avoid agreeing to have yourself listed on search engines.
  • Avoid putting your date of birth on professional or social networking sites.
  • Avoid putting personal activities/interests which could be considered in any way 'contentious', eg politics, pressure/campaigning groups etc.

But DO…!

  • Blow your own trumpet! No-one else is going to!
  • Put achievements, awards and memberships on both LinkedIn and Facebook.
  • Mention what work you are currently doing, be it a campaign, a project, anything! Twitter is particularly good for this.
  • Mention a recent piece of work you are proud of.
  • Talk about a field of professional interest and/or where you have particular knowledge

In the end it's all about common sense and observing a bit of caution when posting your details on the Web. Employers aren't unreasonable and everyone makes allowances for, and likes to see photos of people having fun or a bit of interesting background information. Just remember that whatever you write on your social media profiles, you understand (and are happy) that everyone can see it.

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