Written by Judith Hart, Employment Specialist with
Next-Steps Employment Centre – Mississauga Meadowvale
One of the main reasons for people to use social media platforms is to be SOCIAL and connect with others. However, we live in an increasingly complex world where it is easy for people to have their personal information compromised, and hacking into accounts is not an unusual occurrence. While it is important to be cautious and thoughtful of privacy, these possible negative occurrences should not prevent you from accessing the benefits of social media for job search: discovering jobs in the hidden job market, connecting with employers and hiring decision makers, promoting your personal brand and networking for referrals to opportunities.
Using social media does not have to be scary as long as one knows and adheres to some basic and practical privacy tips:
- Only include information on your public profile which you are comfortable with everyone seeing. This means that you should avoid putting down any personal information, including your home address, phone number, date of birth, etc.
- Explore the “Settings & Privacy” section of your social media platforms. Make sure you are aware of your privacy options, and adjust the settings based on your comfort level. Note that the default is often to make all of your information public and easily accessible. Read through each section – for example, there is often an option to disclose your location when you post. You can turn this off so people do not know where you are.
- Ask yourself “What is my intention for using this social media platform?”, “How do I choose to connect and socialize, and do I want to be found by potential employers or people I worked with or want to know in the future?”. The answer to these questions will help you identify which privacy options are best for you to select, and what information you should be sharing.
- Be mindful of the content you put out to the public sphere: when you post information, it might be visible by a wider audience than you originally intended. Is this information something you would be comfortable with a future employer seeing? Stay positive, professional and share content that might be helpful or useful to others.
- Choose a password that is difficult to guess, and turn on 2 step verification process so that your account is hacker-safe. Another suggestion would be to change your password every few months.
- Be professional: Use business English and write in a clear and to the point manner. Avoid using slang, swear words or prejudiced language. If you are posting somewhere where an employer could easily see the content, try to stay away from religious topics and social activism.
- Communicate with tact and diplomacy and stay within the boundaries of internet etiquette, such as: keep it focused, avoid venting and negative comments, be polite, give thanks and keep your posts overall professional. After all, social media is a powerful tool to build presence, image and ultimately your brand!
Remember that you don’t have to do it alone! Want to get some help with your job search? Check out our monthly calendars to see upcoming events and workshops, and register at one of our 7 GTA locations. From one-on-one sessions to group workshops, our knowledgeable staff can help with your job search needs. All services are FREE!