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7 tips for making sure social media doesn’t kill your career

(Social Media) Most careers now depend on our digital footprints, so without being disingenuous, how can we make sure we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot online?

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Social media can definitely hurt your career

If you’re job hunting and have half of a brain, you probably already know that you shouldn’t tweet pictures of yourself taking hits from a five foot bong, and you shouldn’t tag yourself in photos on Facebook laying out topless on the beach, but there are some less obvious ways you may be sabotaging yourself.

Have you considered the frequency and timing of your social media use, or who you’re friends with online as part of what an employer sees? In many cases, that’s their first impression of you, before you ever even land that interview, so make sure you are polished in a meaningful way.

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To unveil these less obvious tips for making sure social media doesn’t kill your career, we tapped Eamon Collins, Marketing Director at PageGroup, which he offers in his own words below:

1. Don’t be too active on social media at the wrong times

If you’re constantly tweeting, sharing and liking content during the day when you’re supposed to be working, then at some stage your boss is going to wonder if you’re really committed to your job.

Try out the Stay Focused chrome app that blocks you from accessing certain sites e.g. Twitter and Facebook when you’re working.

2. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that what you share is private

Because you’re not friends with your work colleagues, you think what you talk about can’t be found? Wrong!
Default settings for most social networks are set to open, so unless you’ve changed your privacy settings, it’s likely an employer or recruiter can see everything about you.

Learn how to update your privacy settings on the main social networks with our social media guide.

3. Think about the repercussions of what you post on social media

There are many examples of people who’ve lost their jobs due to social media mess ups. A high flying PR director (who should have known a lot better) tweeted this just before getting on a plane to South Africa:

justine sacco

She’d lost her job by the time she’d landed…

If you’d think twice about saying something in a work context, it’s probably not a good idea not to post it.

4. Don’t treat all social networking sites the same

Although the line between personal and private social networks is becoming blurred, when it comes to your career there are definitely some networks that you should be more concerned with than others.
In a recent study, 94% of recruiters who use social media to find candidates said they used LinkedIn, but only 34% say they use Twitter.

Focus on keeping the most corporate social networks, e.g. LinkedIn, as professional as possible. See tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile.

5. Don’t let your past catch up with you

It’s important to remember with the internet that once content goes live online, it tends to stay around.
To make sure there’s nothing from your past on the internet that you’d rather forget, Google yourself. And if there are things showing up there that you don’t want to show up, you need to do some reputation management work.

6. Don’t forget who you’re friends with

A friend request from your boss can be a big deal on social media. Whatever you do, you shouldn’t leave your boss’s friend request hanging.

You’ve got two options. You can set yourself up on Facebook and Twitter so you’re unsearchable or unfollowable (find out how in our social media guide). If you don’t want to do that, then it’s time to clear up your profile, accept their request and be much more careful about what you post in future.

7. Don’t fail to keep secrets

Tweeting about things that you shouldn’t is social media 101. But when things are supposed to be secret, like pay negotiations, a new job offer, or confidential discussions about mergers and acquisitions, your indiscretions can be a big deal.

In one of the most famous incidents, infamously nicknamed “Cisco Fatty,” a graduate student landed an internship at Cisco, and then tweeted;

“Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Needless to say, the tweet went viral, and his offer was withdrawn.

The takeaway

As Collins said, some of this is social media 101, but you’d be surprised the caliber of people that violate these basics, so keep them in mind as you travel along the path to success, and don’t tweet so blindly.

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

Social Media

How to quickly make your LinkedIn profile stand out from the masses

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Most of us have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn, but no matter your feelings, you should be the one who stands out in a crowd – here’s how.

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Your LinkedIn is your brand. That’s it. Whether you are job hunting (or people are hunting you), or are showing off your business, insight, acumen, or simply networking; your profile on LinkedIn needs to stay appealing and not drive potential headhunters, bosses, clients, or networking groups bananas.

Let’s start with a three part list of what you MUST do, what you SHOULD do, and what you COULD do.

Here’s what you MUST DO (as in, do it now).

  1. Get a #GREAT LinkedIn photo. Nothing sells you like the right profile picture. No selfies. No mountain biking. Get a professional headshot. Don’t lie about your age. Wear what you wear when you’re on the job. Smile. People are visual.
  2. Simplify your profile. Cut the buzzwords. Cut out excess skills that don’t add to your vision or that don’t represent the kind of job you want. (i.e. most of us can use Outlook but few of us need to mention that skill because we don’t support Outlook). Focus on the skills that are important.
  3. Keep it current. Your LinkedIn should reflect your career and current responsibilities. Update the description. Add new projects. Change your groups as you change in your career and move towards new levels. Indicate when you receive a promotion.
  4. Extra, Extra! Headlines. Don’t use something lame for your headline. How would you want to catch a headhunter to look at you if you could only say 10 words? Make it standout. There are thousands of managers – but only one you.
  5. Custom URL. Just do it. Pick your own URL. It’s FREEEEEEE.
  6. Get the app. Make LinkedIn a part of your mobile life and check it more often than you do Snapchat.

Here’s what you SHOULD DO (Set aside some time at Starbucks and go do this in the next month).

  1. Tell your story. Your summary should bring to live the content of your career. Don’t leave that section blank. Spend some time crafting a cool story. Run it by your professional mentor. Send it to your English major friends.
  2. Connect. Add colleagues. Add partners from other organizations. Use connections to broaden your network. Synch your profile with your address book. Add people after a conference.
  3. Endorse your connections. Identify people you’ve worked with and give them the endorsements – which can get them to come endorse you!
  4. Ask for recommendations. Ask a colleague, partner, or manager to write you a recommendation to help advertise your skills.
  5. Add a nice cover photo. Again, visual people. Some more on that here.

Here’s what you COULD DO (If you’re feeling dedicated, what you can do to give yourself an extra edge.)

  1. Share your media. Upload presentations, videos, speeches, or projects that you can share. (Don’t violate company policy though!).
  2. Publish original content. LinkedIn has a vibrant publishing feature and sharing your original work (or content you’ve published elsewhere) is a great way to share your voice.
  3. Post status updates. Share your reactions. Share articles. Repost from influencers. Be active and keep your feed vibrant.

That’s a quick list to get started. So go start your LinkedIn makeover (and I’ll go do the same). Let’s get connected!

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Social Media

You’re tired of Twitter because you’re no longer their average demographic

(SOCIAL MEDIA) Twitter was once a gathering place for industry professionals, but if you’re finding yourself drifting away, you’re not alone – the average demographic has changed. A lot.

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Each major social media platform has a tendency to draw a particular demographic, giving each individual platform a distinct tinge or feel. However, research shows that the demographics of Twitter may make it the most unique and youthful social media platform yet.

Perhaps the most notable aspect that sets Twitter apart is its content generation. While Twitter has approximately 126 million daily users, only around 10 percent of those users tweet with any reliable frequency. Surprisingly, that 10 percent user base is responsible for curating around 80 percent of the content on Twitter, giving a shockingly small group of people control over the bulk of Twitter’s output.

Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time on Twitter probably won’t find this revelation entirely illuminating; after all, most of what you see on Twitter generally looks like a slightly different iteration of something that someone else said on Twitter. Even so, the significance of such a large percentage of Twitter’s content coming from such a small group cannot be discounted.

In another shake-up, Twitter users as a collective also tend to be younger than other social media users.

Again, you’ll usually see this openly reflected in both the tone and persuasion of the content posted there, but the objective youthfulness of Twitter does explain some of the criticism levied toward its users by other social media aficionados.

While these two main points seem relatively benign, not everyone agrees with Twitter’s eclectic nature. Twitter’s distinguishing factors have led some, to label it as a “collective hallucination” of a platform, meaning that its demographic data, content themes, and aggregate of information all combine to create a different picture of America than is actually correct; naturally, the democratic-leaning persuasion of Twitter doesn’t help correct this assumption.

But what sticks out to some publications as a pipe dream of a demographic is, in fact, fairly accurate to America’s example insofar as race and gender ratio is concerned — even though Twitter may not embody the politically diverse “melting pot” of America’s government or emulate its education statistics.

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Social Media

Big backlash after woman tries to shame McD worker for napping

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This might be my favorite story of the year – a woman calls out a napping employee, and the community rejects her tweet, then rallies behind the employee to help improve his life.

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Social media originated as a form of communication to stay in touch with people that you don’t see every day. From there, it blossomed into a community of idea-sharing and a source for news.

As social media grew more popular, the dark side began to rear its ugly head and people began using it as a method of attacking people from behind their keyboards. So much of social media has become negative that it’s hard to want to stay active.

Such was the case when a woman in Fayette County, Georgia shared a photo of a McDonald’s worker asleep in the booth. She posted the photo to social media in haste, in an attempt to shame the McDonald’s location for not doing anything about the employee’s behavior.

What she didn’t realize was that the employee – Simon Childs – was homeless and was simply resting between shifts.

The 21-year old father recently fell into hard times after his mother passed away, and found himself without a residence, but with a job at McDonald’s. When he found out about what the woman posted, Childs was disappointed by her actions.

“It kind of hurt to see my picture up there, you know,” he told WSB in Atlanta. “I thought it was something negative and nobody would care about it.”

The woman’s photo received a lot of attention on social media, but not in the way that she had intended. Local community members near Childs learned of his story and rejected the shaming. They began donating items to help with his child. Others donated hotel rooms, while a local restauranteur loaned Childs his car.

The nameless woman who posted the photo reportedly claims that she didn’t intend to shame Childs, especially since the image was only posted to a private group. However, we all know that it only takes one screenshot to make something “private” known to the whole entire world.

This shows us a few timeless lessons: Nothing on social media or the Internet is private, karma works in mysterious ways, and never make assumptions about anyone as you never know what is going on in their world.

That’s my morals and values lesson for the day. Class dismissed.

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