Social Media, LinkedIn & Your Next Job aka Have You Already Shot Yourself In The Foot? Part 2

Well, the first part of this article got a proper reaction from Maxwell Stephens’ large and growing database of facilities management professionals.

For many of you feeding back to us, you didn’t mind that prospective employers viewed your LinkedIn profile. After all, it’s a professionals’ network. What really got some of your goats was the fact that so many companies and their HR and FM teams checked out your Facebook profile.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out our first article: “Social Media, LinkedIn & Your Next Job aka Have You Already Shot Yourself In The Foot? Part 1“.

Is it really so surprising that employers do this? Facebook is everywhere. It’s at our desktop, it’s on our tablets and our smartphones. Some people even get alerts to their smart watches. Logging on to Facebook is like checking in to Hotel California – you never really leave it.

Many people think non-Facebook users are “psychopaths”. With that being the case, in an HR/FM person’s mind, it’s not unreasonable to check to see if you have one. If you don’t, it could be that they think your glowing CV is some sort of cover for behaviours and practices that might not go down well with colleagues!

If you are right now in the job market and you haven’t carried out the recommendations in the previous blog post, we have three words for you. Do it now!

Although not as popular as Facebook, Twitter’s been in the news a lot lately. How one person in particular used it has been a defining feature of what many think is the longest, greatest job interview process in the world – to become the President of the United States of America.

Before we go on, Maxwell Stephens is a world-class recruitment company for facilities management professionals. We’re not a think-tank. We don’t have an axe to grind. In time, history may view President Donald J Trump as the greatest, most unifying titleholder there ever was. Or it could be the exact opposite. But probably it’s going to be somewhere in the middle.

President-elect Trump is a major Twitter user. I’ll use this word carefully but his “mastery” of rhetoric, whether in his speeches or his Tweets, simultaneously gave many Americans hope they had not felt for decades. In others, it provoked despair and a feeling that the country was walking back to a darker, more divided country from the past. He is very definitely a Marmite character.

Without wishing to state the obvious, you should tread a finer line with your Twitter account if you’re in the job market. The reason for this is that a smart HR or FM person will find you on it and they’ll draw just as many inferences from that as they do your CV.

So, what’s the smart, job-seeking-friendly way to use this platform?

One advantage for social media users that Twitter has over Facebook is that Twitter does not have a real name policy. Twitter does not care if you use your real name or any other. If you already have a personal Twitter account, remove everything from it that could be used to find you on Google or change your name to something that no-one would ever think of searching for you with.

Then, create a separate professional account. Use this Twitter account to post your views on the industry (non-inflammatory if possible) and links to relevant articles about your industry. You become findable by prospective employers and this “pro” account will demonstrate your interest and passion for FM.

Don’t complain about work online, even if you’ve had the day from hell managing warring commercial and residential occupiers and the contractors didn’t turn up as promised. If you post bad things about where you work now, it’s natural for a future employer to think that you might do that about them some day.

If you have got an interview somewhere, put in two or three tweets about the company you’re going to see. It won’t hurt to tweet after your interview that you enjoyed meeting their HR/FM team because they’ll do another check of your social media profiles as part of their decision-making process.

If you do get offered the job, don’t mention it on Twitter. Just get yourself settled in and comfortable in your next role before you think about sharing information with your followers.

Following these steps will leave you safe with your Twitter usage whether you’re in a job or you’re seeking a new one. Remember that employers are just as likely to use Facebook and Twitter as a reason to offer you the job as they are to use it to turn you down.

That’s Twitter covered. LinkedIn is still your main shop window for future employers. Following on from the advice in the previous post in this series, here are some more nuggets of advice from experts around the web for creating that perfect profile.

Your LinkedIn profile allows you to really detail and show your experience.

Karen Brown, a techie coach for the techie terrified, gives 12 great pointers to making the most of this section in ‘12 Tips to Improve Your Work Experience Section on LinkedIn‘.

We really like this tip sheet: ‘The Experience Secction of your LinkedIn Profile‘. There’s a specific piece of advice for how to frame your experience if you’re looking for work at the moment.

Career coach Stacey Lane lists the top three questions she gets about the experience section and her answer to them on her blog. This is a really useful post.

What about getting recommendations and testimonials? How much of a difference does this make to people’s perceptions of you?

If you don’t mind the adverts, William Aruda has a great piece here about recommendations and testimonials: ‘The Best Way to Request and Receive LinkedIn Recommendations‘.

I love this piece but you have to be cheeky about it. “Your 5-Minute Guide to Writing an Amazing LinkedIn Recommendation” is a link you send to someone who you want to write a testimonial about you. It’s brilliant.

Your LinkedIn profile is nothing if people don’t see it. So, what’s the best way to build your network?

There are different types of connections on LinkedIn. I think that Christine Funk’s blog article on Bookboon does the best job of explaining the differences to newbies.

We also like the “How to Create a Powerful LinkedIn Network” article at BeBusinessed.com

And that’s it for social media in 2016.

We’ll keep an eye on all the developments for you and come back with updates and new advice in the New Year.

Peter Forshaw – Managing Director – Maxwell Stephens