If you are still in college, and haven’t yet discovered LinkedIn or don’t think that it’s really all that important for your job or internship search, then this was written for you. If you’re long graduated, you may still learn a few things. It’s critical to make sure that both LinkedIn and Facebook are working for you in your job search and to ensure that neither is derailing your efforts. Here are five LinkedIn and Facebook differences you need to know to help you in your job search.
1. Your friends aren’t really friends. On LinkedIn, they are called connections. If you have 587 friends on Facebook, well, I hate to break it to you, but they aren’t “real” friends”, more like connections. On LinkedIn, “friends” are called “connections” and there is a lifetime limit of connections. While it is set extremely high, the number of invitations you can issue is 1/10th the number of connections that you can have. If you are just getting started on LinkedIn, target building connections on that can help you professionally and don’t connect with anyone whom you don’t know. You should at least have a common connection, such as your university or college. This article offers great tips on maximizing your LinkedIn profile.
2. You need to have a profile picture. You also should choose it wisely. Are you really friends with anyone on Facebook who doesn’t have a profile picture? On Facebook, not having a profile picture is kind of creepy. To maximize your LinkedIn profile, add a picture. Profiles with photos are seven times more likely to be viewed than those without photos. That said, LinkedIn is not the place to show what a cool, hip dude you are with your dark sunglasses, base guitar and backwards baseball cap. Conservatism is the rule on LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile picture should be a closely cropped headshot and you should be dressed professionally. For guys, being clean-shaven is much more important than you’d think, so shave that beard before you post your photo. You can grow it back. That is, until you get the interview.
3. Your photos matter more than you think. Ninety-three percent of recruiters use social media to research candidates and seventy percent have rejected candidates because of what they found on line. If your Facebook profile picture shows you doing something unflattering, such as holding a dead cat by its tail (yes, that’s a real example and “unflattering” is far too kind a descriptor), you might want to rethink it if you are job hunting. As the saying goes: “a picture is worth a thousand words.” What story is your picture telling about you?
Google “photos of” and “your name”. You will be shocked by what you find. It is remarkably easy to find loads of information about you with relatively few details. Better that what is found is positive. It’s fairly easy to delete old posts or remove them from your timeline and well worth the effort. There’s a good reason why Snapchat has over 700 million photos posted, and deleted, daily. Not everything you do should be plastered all over social media for eternity.
4. Facebook and LinkedIn activity impacts your brand. LinkedIn is an integral part of your professional brand, whereas Facebook might be considered part of your personal brand. Quite frankly, not everything we post on social media necessarily enhances our brand. Just ask DiGiorno Pizza, McDonalds, or US Airways. In the end, all your online posts, whether professional or personal, impact your brand. What do you want to be known for?
5. Think about what you post before you post. The same goes with likes. According to the New York Times, what you like on Facebook might just cost you a job. “A new study suggests that based on your Facebook likes, a computer model can predict your personality better than your friends — and in some ways, know more about your life than you do. This also means anyone who can see your Facebook profile could one day learn about your personality, and make determinations about your future job performance, your creditworthiness and more.”
So while you aren’t likely to give up your social media habits anytime soon, think about when and where you post. After all, it’s your brand that you just might be damaging with that late night, snarky post or risqué photo.
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Image by Peter K. Rasmussen