Would you hire your online self?

Simon Wright, managing director at CareersinAudit.com gives the accountancy profession some pointers on how to ensure your online presence is professional and reflects your skills and experience

It is the age of social media and connectivity as the likes of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more jostle to shout about you to the whole wide world. But remember that the people you work with and for are part of that world too. So are you confident that your online reputation is preceding you in the right way?

You need to be your own PR firm when it comes to online and use it as a highlight reel of your best bits to impress current and future employers and clients. Play it the wrong way and you could miss out on a great job offer, lose a client or get yourself fired.

Make sure you have a profile

As the owner of a digital job board, I wholeheartedly believe in all things online and the opportunities they present. For that reason, it is key that you have a profile online. Just as you will be Googling a company prior to interview, do not think they won’t be doing the same with you. So you want that profile to sing.

Are you ‘selling’ yourself well? Can an employer see your value straight off the bat? Are you utilising each platform effectively?

LinkedIn, for example, one of the most popular professional platforms for recruitment should reveal an engaging yet succinct version of your CV. Is your information current? Have you included links and attachments to articles or white papers you may have written or conferences/panel discussions you have spoken at recently? All this will showcase the asset you are in your industry.

Try viewing your profile objectively to see what can be omitted and which expertise and experience needs to be included to make your profile shine.

If you can, invest in a professional headshot.

Beware of the blurred lines of work and personal brand – take responsibility

Don’t allow your online presence to become a double-edged sword. As much as it exists to emphasise your strengths, it can just as quickly highlight a flaw, or 50. The lines are becoming increasingly blurred when it comes to your online self because you are no longer just representing ‘you’ but also the brands, clients and organisations you’re associated with.

Some meme ‘personal you’ thinks is hilarious, could land ‘professional you’ in hot water. Comedians have been berated for far less and accountants are just as accountable for their sense of humour.

You need to get really good at editing your online self and the content you are putting out there. Think before you post. Is that joke racist? Will that comment be seen to be discriminatory about religion, gender, disability, etc?

On that note, as much as political opinion is rife on social media, you are safer leaving those issues for dinner table talk. So, don’t feel compelled to enter an online debate with some mouthy attention-seeker, put yourself first. You’ll thank yourself later.

Finally... the importance of privacy settings

We all have a past, of course, and for that there are clever little things called privacy settings. It might be worth doing an audit of your social accounts and switching certain photos of your student days to ‘only me’ or private. Be aware of the apps that share your information with other websites too, a little settings check is all it takes to keep your online reputation intact.

About the author

Simon Wright is managing director at CareersinAudit.com

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