In the age of the “selfie” you and your online persona are everywhere and as a lawyers that is just as true, in some cases more so. The internet is plagued with stories of those who have had job opportunities in hand only to have them fall prey to their past indiscretions. The most important thing to remember is once it’s on the internet; it will forevermore be on the internet. Just like companies trying to create a public brand online, you are creating your own brand through your personal accounts, whether it is Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn all of them could be visible to a potential or current employer.
We’re presenting you with a few simple rules to follow to try to minimize any negative effect your social media may be having on your personal brand or employability:
1) Would you want your parents or dream employer to read or see your latest post?
If the answer is no, it is pretty safe to say it is probably not a good idea to post it. Also remember you don’t just have friends online anymore, most people have a habit of “friending” co-workers. Is your post something you want being traded around the office?
2) Privacy settings can be your best friend but pay attention to updates, especially Facebook who makes rule changes almost monthly. When changes get made to the privacy settings things like that embarrassing photo from college may now be visible to the general public, even though you thought you’d made it only available to friends.
3) LinkedIn gives you pretty clear directions on how to improve and draft a good profile, but make sure to keep it streamline and up to date. Follow companies that you are interested. Try and keep it focused on your career goals or sectors that you would like to work in, rather than liking every sponsored company that pops up in your sidebar.
4) Twitter is now a source for instant news, and many companies are posting new opportunities on their Twitter feeds, meaning more and more professionals are becoming members. Nonetheless, those who you follow post very real opinions. To an outside observer, those opinions will appear as your own so be sure that you manage your feed and be cognisant of what is being made public. Many companies also ask you to place a disclaimer saying that the opinions you express are not those of your employer, so before you start posting, find out if your company has a social media policy.
5) Google has lots of benefits and it is also the gateway to your online identity, this includes everything from your social media to your name being mentioned in company press releases. If you really want to know the effect your social media might be having, clear your cache and Google yourself, you may just be surprised what you find.