LinkedIn and Twitter are used both by employers and job seekers. We have significantly graduated from that phase of the internet era wherein you use only your LinkedIn account for job search and reserve Facebook and Instagram purely for fun. The current job seeking scenario demands a consistent personal branding strategy across various social media networks. Your prospective hiring manager will use your social media pages as one of the screening tools and also gain meaningful insights into your persona.
In the above context, your photograph is among the first attention capturing areas in social media. While the right picture can win you the coveted job, carelessness in not devoting attention to the photo you use on social media, can spell ruin. Though your social media picture cannot be weighed as the sole deciding criterion for recruitment, the job-winning social media photo will make your candidature stand out and excel. Here’s more on being street-smart, when selecting the ideal social media picture, and also poignant insights into how wrong pictures can cost you your dream job prospect.
#1 Selfies cannot impress hirers
Unless you are a selfie expert, do not attempt to use selfies for your social media picture. The bottom line is that you get too pre-occupied with adjusting zoom and flash, that you forget to cut a professional pose for your photo. Most people do the mistake of holding the mobile too close or too far away. There is the possibility that your hands may shake. Though selfie sticks may come in handy, a photo taken by someone else is the perfect one to upload.
#2 The way you carry your smile, matters
Ensure that you wear a good, sparkling smile that makes you come along as a person who can is more approachable, tolerant and compassionate. Take care not to overdo by guffawing. There are, but very subtle differences between a smile, grin, laugh, giggle and a chuckle. What is most important is that your smile should gel with your personality and should not paint you as a different person altogether. Remember not to frown or stare. This may be connoted tension, anxiety, nonchalance or apathy and will challenge the seriousness with which you will handle your deliverables. Pouting or pursing of lips, winking and squinting of eyes are signs of immaturity which are sure to make employers wary of your profile and fitment to responsible positions.
#3 Cropped pictures can raise eyebrows of recruiters
Cropped pictures are a mess. Your prospective employer is sure to frown when he sees the part of your best friend’s shoulder, hair or a nice part of your shoulder clipped in your attempt to severe your image from a group. Similarly, do not post group photos and make your employers take time to pick you from the crowd. Even simple tips such as shooting from a good camera phone or a high-resolution picture will save the possible irritation that may be experienced by recruiters when they need to strain their eyes to see you in poor quality social media pictures.
#4 Dress anywhere between formals to smart casuals
Though it is not mandatory to clothe yourself in expensive blazers and tuxedos, the other extreme of being clad in beach shorts is not commendable either. Both formals and semi-formals are ideal. Keep the colors subdued but not dull. Caps, bandanas, goggles and weird hairdos will make you look out of place. Ensure that tresses of hair or thick make-up do not disorient the photograph. Avoid heavy jewelry. This does not mean an end to your social freedom; this only guides you to let the right people see the right photos. Most social media sites allow you to choose the list of people who can view your photos.
#5 Body length pictures with funny poses are not for job seeking
In most cases, you will only have the space to upload photos that cover your face and part of your chest. Pictures will only look as mini thumbnails. Choosing a full-length picture will minuscule your image to such an extent that your face is hardly visible. Candidates should avoid strapless or off-shoulder dresses in such photos, lest they look as though they are wearing anything at all. And even when there is space to upload full-length photos, avoid bizarre poses such as jumping, squatting or dancing. You may be a sports freak, but from the perspective of a recruiter, your funky photo will lower your chances of getting hired.
#6 Recent photographs sell you well
Though you cherish your graduation day memories, reserve them for personal occasions. Hirers will like to a more recent you across the social media. As far as possible, upload a photo that was taken recently and in tune with your current profile. Also, pay heed to avoid distractive backgrounds. If you are being over-enthusiastic and stand in front of a slide presentation of your company’s mission or financials, recruiters will fail to notice you in their curiosity to read the background information.
#7 Inappropriate tagging can earn you embarrassment
This is a tricky situation. If you were caught in inappropriate poses when you were partying wild, and your friend happens to tag you then your picture is sure to get posted across the walls of social media. There may be some options provided in certain social media sites that require your approval before the tagged images get published, but this might help in all cases. Also choose an appropriate time frame, so that photos posted much earlier in your timeline will not appear in your account.
#8 Avoid posing with pets
In professional pictures, avoid say-hi-to-my-kitten kind of photos which are commonly seen across social media. While it is endearing to let your pet dog lick your nose, such pictures will only make you a laughing stock amidst potential recruiters.
#9 Get your friends or family to choose from a range of ideal photos
If you are confused in deciding amidst a bunch of photos, get people who are known to you, like family or friends to pick one for you. The way you look at your photos differs from the way the world looks at it. Be sure that the person knows you inside out so that he will be better equipped to make a sensible choice.
#10 Be careful with taglines and captions
When you caption photos or add status lines, do not indulge in negativity or in tarnishing your ex-employer. Similarly, avoid aimless and empty quotes such that despite hard work and virtues. For example, avoid describing instances when you called in sick to work and went out on a blind date, even if you are not employed with that company anymore. The got-nothing-to-do attitude will project you as a vagabond and aimless fun lover who cannot come to terms with harsh realities of work.
#11 Make it easy for employers to track your social media profiles
It is a trending thing these days to mention social media links in your email signature and embed them in the soft copies of your resumes. Many job seekers also provide these links when they construct their individual websites or in a Wikipedia profile. Most importantly, try to maintain the same picture across different social media platforms. Your recent online activity can also be tracked in social media sites, so an ounce of caution in online activities and refrainment from visiting objectionable sites are proactive measures to project a clean personality for your recruiters.
#12 Do not commit the mistake not uploading social media profile photos at all
More than inability to see your photo, employers may wonder if there are any ulterior reasons for you to hide away from public domain. Seeing a blank profile sans a professional photo dims your job prospects and may lead to rejection of candidature owing to skepticism.
The above list is not exhaustive and also not essentially to be followed verbatim, but must be applied with reference to context. Your social media activity counts when you search for jobs. Maintaining a professional, vibrant and gracious picture is a necessity to double up your chances of getting hired. A uniform picture for all your social media profiles, including even your Gmail profile picture will not only depict your consistency, but you will last longer in the memories of the recruiter, every time your name comes up in the recruitment phase. Nobody can chalk out photo specs for social media as does the embassy for your visa applications, but good doses of a presence of mind and logic can make you sell yourself better in the job market.
For all your queries, apprehensions and anxieties in building your online persona, or to sculpt out a neat and personal profile with sensible and relevant content in your profile description, do log onto www.poachme.in and open your new fenestra to the job market. Experience the unique culture at PoachMe where cutting edge technology is administered by experts in human resources and behavioral sciences. Sign up with the industry experts who can architect a succinct, picture perfect and comprehensive social media profile for you, in tune with your core competencies.