Social Media, LinkedIn & Your Next Job aka Have You Already Shot Yourself In The Foot? Part 1

Everything you do online leaves a digital fingerprint. This is how to handle a world where you can be judged on your name alone. The world has changed beyond recognition in the last 20 years for everyone. And that change covers every area of life from how you find to a job to how you hire a car.

The internet has been responsible for the change. Social media, and the way you appear on it, now means that many FM employers may judge you on your character based upon what’s on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. The perception they form of you may stop you even getting your foot in the door for interview.

Here’s Maxwell Stephens’ guide to accentuating the positive social media can offer and eliminating the potentially career-stunting negatives.

There’s two parts to this blog – non-LinkedIn and LinkedIn. They are just as important as each other.

Let’s start with the big one – Facebook.

Nearly 2 billion of the world’s inhabitants use Facebook every month. Its level of penetration into all levels of society in just over a decade is nothing short of astonishing. In those ten years, what the public perceives as being “private” has completely changed.

An easy suggestion here might be just to make your Facebook profile completely unfindable. It’s possible to do this. You won’t appear on search engine results. No-one will see your profile if they search within Facebook. (If you’re interested to see how this is done, here’s a great article from Time Magazine.

It’s tempting to do this but it may not be the best course of action. If you type in “non facebook users” into Google, one of its auto-suggested searches is “non facebook users suspicious”. Try that search and one of the articles which appears is “Is not joining Facebook a sign that you’re a psychopath?”. Another says that “Not being on Facebook will arouse employer suspicion”.

The person recruiting you may think you’re a strange sort if you’re not on Facebook. From that, they may come up with all sorts of baseless and cruel assumptions about your social skills, your ability to fit into a team and even your ability to use a computer.

A survey for Jobvite (link – http://web.jobvite.com/FY15_SEM_2015JobSeekerNation_LP.html) in 2015 offers the best advice on how to structure your Facebook profile so that it works in your advantage.

First, the don’ts. Mentioning illegal drugs. “Sexy” posts. Bad language. Bad spelling and grammar. Pictures of you half-cut on vodka and coke surrounded by empty beer cans and a half-eaten doner kebab.

An astonishing 42% of employers changed their mind about whether they wanted to employ someone based on what they found on the internet. That number bears repeating. 42%. It’s important to get this right!

How can we make that work to your benefit? According to Hannah Morgan on her blog Career Sherpa, and its advice we agree with, you should:

  • adjust your settings showing just enough but not too much,
  • treat your intro section as a “personal branding opportunity” – put out the very best of yourself in the 100 characters it allows,
  • update your work history and education (so it’s consistent with your CV),
  • link with professionals in your industry (particularly recruiters like those here at Maxwell Stephens),
  • make sure that any “embarrassing” things you might post can ONLY be seen by friends and family, and
  • be professional – sound like a fun, open, trustworthy, gregarious person capable of holding down and excelling in a role with responsibilities.

LinkedIn and your job profile

Did you know many people with responsibility for HR and recruitment within large companies have two LinkedIn accounts? One contains all their details. The other contains nothing. When you click on the “Who’s viewed my profile?” link at the top of the LinkedIn page, there’s a good chance that the person who wishes to remain anonymous is one of those people working for one of those organisations you’ve recently applied to?

Maxwell Stephens have already published an amazing blog piece on LinkedIn. If you’ve not read it, please read it now. It’s consistently been one of our most visited blog pages since it was published. See it for yourself and you’ll realise why.

What we want to do in this blog post is back up some of the superb points made in that post with real-life examples. The basic rules have not changed about what makes a great LinkedIn profile. But it’s always good to look at what others are doing to see if it provides you with any inspiration.

Create a Snappy Headline

We wrote “You have 120 characters so make it count. Don’t just simply put your job title, elaborate on it a little, “Facilities Manager at ACo – 20 years of FMCG Experience”. Mirror this when you customise your URL, to ensure the link to your profile contains your name as well as something that relates to your industry – it makes you easier to find!”

We like this amazing piece by Andrew Hutchison, digital media expert, who goes into real details (complete with examples and justifications) about the importance of the LinkedIn headline.

We also hat-tip to Jerry Jay Hunter from the Job Hunting University with his superb and engaging article called “7 LinkedIn Headline Tips That Get You Hired”

Write a Compelling Summary

 We wrote “Here you have 2000 characters to really sell yourself. Make good use of them, don’t simply start listing your experience. Instead the summary should be all the great things about you with tangible information to back them up.”

William Aruda is a personal branding consultant with a love for LinkedIn. This superb (if slightly over-long) piece sets out his vision.

LinkedIn Profile Expert, Brenda Bernstein, offers great insight here in her piece “5 Essential Tips for a KILLER LinkedIn Summary”

In the next article

We continue our look at how social media can help and hinder you in the competitive FM job market. We’ll look at Twitter and how that’s perceived by employers. There’ll also be more great links providing further reading on the points we made in last year’s LinkedIn article.

Peter Forshaw – Managing Director – Maxwell Stephens