The social media secrets you need in the workplace

You should try to be consistent across your social media accounts

Stock CV phrases and revealing photos will get you nowhere

Should you accept your boss’s Facebook request? Is a Twitter account best kept work-related? With social media now dominating our lives both at home and in the workplace, getting the balance right is imperative. So if you want to avoid a sticky situation, what are the unspoken rules you should follow when using social media?

EMPLOYERS LOOK AT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media has muddied the line between the professional and personal – and this can be perilous for a budding career. A survey on CareerBuilder found that 51 per cent of employers who research candidates on social media platforms have found content that has then caused them to not hire them.
Writing in Harvard Business Review, Soumitra Dutta recommends setting guidelines for yourself about what you’re going to disclose across channels. “Be authentic and consistent across spheres, online and in other media. And remember that anything you want to keep private and maintain control over should not be posted on a social media platform,” he says.

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT LINKEDIN

Of course, one of the best functions of social media is as a networking tool. While LinkedIn is the obvious choice for professionals, it’s not the only one you should be thinking about.
Cast away your social media prejudices and think which sites can actually help you push your online presence. Writing in Forbes, Trudy Steinfeld even thinks Foursquare, YouTube, and Pinterest can help. “Using these platforms will help you build your online presence, share your interests, and demonstrate your creativity,” she says.

BEWARE OF TOO MANY CONNECTIONS

Be wary of drowning in too many social media connections, as this is unlikely to help you secure your perfect job. As Rajiv Garg writes in The University of Texas at Austin News, “if your online social network is mostly made up of people you barely know or have never even met, it won’t help you land a new job”. It is far better to have a LinkedIn account with a dozen or so helpful connections than an account with 500 plus weak connections.

THE WRONG WORDS

If your LinkedIn bio says that you’re “passionate”, “motivated” and “driven”, rewrite it immediately. According to LinkedIn, which recently released its most underwhelming phrases of 2015 list, these are three of the most overused words on the site. Instead of using stock phrases, focus on concrete examples of how past jobs demonstrate skill sets. LinkedIn’s Catherine Fisher explains: “don’t go to your trusty thesaurus and replace one buzzword with another lackluster adjective. Rather, include examples that illustrate how you’re motivated.”

AVOID IT

It might not be a possibility for everyone, but you may want to consider a break from social media altogether. After all, a recent study from the Pew Research Centre found that being online is causing significant undue stress. If social media is a necessity for your work, consider business speaker Barry Moltz’s suggestion: shut off all notifications and alerts, checking updates only “at specific times during the day for set, defined periods”.

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