Sharing our thoughts on social media has made the world more accessible and ensures that we connect easily with others. And just as easily, some posts can land our careers in the proverbial hot water. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks have transformed how the way we connect with family, friends and even how we a build career. Access to information for both business and individuals is much easier to find than ever before, which enables recruiters to conduct background checks potential candidates.

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How do you ensure that you maintain your social media profiles ethically and increase your chances of career advancement?

Maintain a positive image on social media

Employers increasingly keep an eye out for the kind of content and online presence a potential employee has. They tend to want to see how employees’ online presence influences the organisation’s credibility. There have been increased cases of discriminatory comments or some with religious prejudice that have led to people missing out on key opportunities. Social media accounts should always represent who you are, your ambitions and maintain a balance of personal and professional aspirations.

Be versatile

Employers are as interested in your professional life as they are in an employee’s leisure activities. It helps when employees participate in various activities such as charity events which add to their competitive advantage over other candidates. It is evidence of what you’ve done and it may be impressive for a would-be employer.

Social media for networking

The biggest advantage of utilising social media, among others, is the ability to position the user as a brand. Think of how you can use these networking platforms to promote and express yourself ethically and professionally. One of the most popular ways is to start a blog that allows you to share your thoughts and ideas as a professional in your field. It is also worthwhile following people or companies that talk to your career interests and ones that you would like to work with.

Keep your professional profile current

Using social media for networking requires that you to keep your professional profile updated because your information can be used for referrals and word of mouth. This includes details such as your work experience, education and some personal information. Add your qualifications, companies you have worked for, awards and achievements, testimonials and performance reviews. This information gives a clear and detailed first impression of your capabilities and expertise, which positions you for new career opportunities.

Focus and understand your audience

Social media, like any other marketing activity, needs to be focused to reach its intended results and audience.  Analyse your audience to get a sense of who is interested in your content. This can include everything from gender, profession, interests and other variables.

Social media can be a gift and a curse on people’s social and professional lives, which requires the utmost care and smart usage. The most important thing is to be yourself while balancing it with the fact that it is a public platform that can make or break your aspirations.

How do you use social media to ensure that you benefit professionally? Tell us in comments below or Tweet us.