Build a social media strategy wisely  

When we use social media, making our names easily searchable online, we rarely consider the consequences. But did you know that it is a standard procedure for job recruiters to google your name? Certain types of content can actually disqualify you from a position. Here are some advice for a good social media strategy.

I hate to spoil your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram parties, but your online presence can be the deciding factor when it comes to landing that dream interview/job. Good news is that the early career scientists can use this transparency in a positive way. Social media offers many opportunities to learn and interact. These skills are valuable for students in university and later in life. It can be one of the best ways to share information, brainstorm new ideas and get feedback. You can use your social media accounts as a complement to your CV – share accomplishments and awards, tell more about them, or become active in an online community where you can showcase your expertise. Use of social media is influencing the recruitment process, putting emphasis once again on how many benefits (or drawbacks, depending on the way social media is used) your social media presence has.

Negative or positive content

According to CareerBuilder, 35% of employers didn’t hire a candidate due to contents found on social media (and in particular social networks), which involved:

  • provocative photographs
  • content about drinking/using drugs
  • negative reflections on previous co-workers
  • poor communication skills and making discriminatory comments
  • lying about qualifications
  • sharing confidential information from previous employer (especially important for sharing the experimental data!)

Those employers that liked what they saw on social media about potential employees were positively influenced by:

  • creativity of the candidate
  • good communication skills
  • good references about the candidate posted by other people
  • awards as well as consistency between online profiles and CVs submitted

Useful tools

In order to make social media less complicated for students, Career Service at Princeton University created a board “Social Media & YOU!” On this board you can find very engaging infographics that offer tips & tricks when it comes to online presence and use of social media in job search or by recruiters. A good way to start creating your online image is to first perform a Google search for your name. On the above mentioned board, there is a very helpful visual guide on how to do this:


Ready to start ego-surfing? Click for larger infographic / via DR4WARD


You can also enter your name on Google Alerts and find out what’s being said on the Web about you. Google Alerts are emails that are automatically sent to you when a new content containing your name is published.

Main DON’Ts in maintaining a positive image on social media:

Don’t lie. Be consistent, and keep track of what you are writing and where. It is easy for employers to see whether something on LinkedIn (your title for example) is different from what you actually send them in the CV.

Don’t be negative. This is especially important when talking about your previous employers/supervisors.  Negative comments can make your potential employer doubt your loyalty.

Don’t post anything before a revision. Everything you publish online is to a certain extent a public interaction. Always make sure you check the accuracy (and grammar) of what you are writing. If what you are saying is incorrect, you are discrediting yourself. It makes you look irresponsible and untrustworthy and may sway your employer to hire someone else.

You should be certain that your employers will be checking you out online at all stages of your employment – from recruitment but also after you are hired. That’s why you should use social media wisely. Plan to win!

About Iva Filipovic

Iva Filipovic is a graduate student at Imperial College London. Outside of the lab, you can find her digging through social media so you don't have to. ‎[Read more]
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