You’re kidding yourself if you don’t think prospective or current employers do not look into your social media pages. It could be a simple background check that begs the question, “I wonder how this employee is outside of work?”, but keep in mind - your social media profiles can make or break you.
Something “bad” you posted might be grounds for dismissal or just might be a major turn off. We listed down the biggest dos and don’ts so you don’t fall into a pit of embarrassment (or failure) when you begin your freelancing career.
Have a proper profile picture.
Keep it professional with a proper profile picture. It doesn’t have to be passport photo-formal but you might want to veer away from the hated “bathroom selfie” or showing too much skin. Keep it classy. Generally there are no rules in choosing the “right profile picture”, but it’s ideal if you’re a real person on your profile picture and not a virtual reality.
Write a good profile description.
Write something that will help you land a job. Operative term: help. This means that your profile isn’t about hard-selling yourself and your skills but showing that you have drive and ambition. Something like “passionate about graphic design” speaks about your personality and creativity. Obviously if you’re applying to be a graphic designer, this kind of profile description only makes it clear that you have your sights set on that career.
Link to your portfolio.
As a freelancer, you are selling your skills and you must be proud of your work. What are you doing with your life if you aren’t? Social media isn’t really a portfolio, but if you’re a photographer, your Instagram (or blog and probably other profiles) is expected to be filled with amazing photos. If you’re a writer, you must have a personal blog and occasionally link to it whenever you publish a new entry. All these are already a given.
Keep it real.
Authenticity is key. Apart from being a designer or an engineer, what do you do for fun? Don’t say binge drinking or watching Netflix all day. Your lifestyle says a lot about you and that could be attractive to employers. If you run marathons, it denotes a sense of discipline, tenacity, and commitment, or if you like building model airplanes, it shows that you are critical and detail-oriented.
Use foul language.
Profanity, cuss words, racism, sexism, discrimination and other forms of derogatory language are downright offensive. Even if it’s just a joke among peers or you were just being sarcastic, it can be taken out of context and can be misleading. There’s a borderline between being cool and good-humored and being arrogant and distasteful. Be nice.
Give off negativity.
Nobody likes a Debbie Downer. If you complain a lot about petty things that can be best set aside for small talk, then skip posting about it. Imagine your employer scrolling through your Twitter feed and reading a play-by-play of silly rants. It’s just spells out your immaturity and impatience. You want employers to be inspired by your personality and be convinced to get you for the job.
Take harsh stands on sensitive topics.
Social media has become an earsplitting marketplace for anyone voicing out their opinions on politics, religion, and several other sensitive areas. Taking a stand shows conviction and principle, but this must be done with caution. Extremist or radical views might be a dealbreaker for employers, especially if you talk in a harassing or threatening manner. Be careful with what you say because it may be hurtful.
Fake it ‘til you make it.
This technique has worked for a bunch of people, but that only means they are inherently talented and gifted in learning. Don’t make false claims on your skills as this is pretty obvious that you’re setting yourself up for failure. Don’t oversell yourself and say you are an expert even if you’re still a beginner. If you don’t have the skills to back it up this will definitely show.
Have you got these dos and don’ts in check? What’s your own dos and don’ts for your social media profiles?
When you’re done polishing your social media profiles, it’s time to present yourself to employers looking for the set of skills you have. Find your next freelance project here.