Your Controversial Social Media Profile Could Get You a Job in 2020
We’ve all seen cancel culture unfold.
Post something controversial, or have something dug up about you in the past, and your life is ruined by people you’ve never met in person before. Post an opinion, and an employer might chance on your page…hastening that rejection letter. Post your photos, and suddenly your colleague comes across your profile — mortifying.
Before you delete your recent tweets, put all your profiles on private, and archive your Instagram posts, wait just a moment.
What if it were the opposite? What posting regular content online that you care about is helpful rather than hurtful? What if your thoughtless tweets land you…a job?
It happens, and a lot more frequently than you think. It happened to me — I’ve been scouted for work not because I kept a low profile, but because recruiters chanced upon my viral tweets. I tweeted about the glorification of suffering at undergrad, and after getting almost 100k retweets, landed a role as a contributor at the Huffington Post.
I’m not saying actively seek to post viral or attention-seeking tweets to get yourself a job. If you do that, you’ll probably lose the one you already have.
What I’m really saying is to relax a little bit. In an increasingly digital age and ever-changing globalized society, social media has permeated the fabric of almost every culture and institution. That includes the workplace. It’s okay to step into the foray of conversation, be vocal, and show a little bit of your life.
Instead of running away from leaving traces of your digital footprint, leverage it to your advantage. Now more than ever, employers are checking out whether their employees even have a digital footprint.
How can embracing social media practically increase your employability?
Read on to find out.
Shows you have an opinion
Having an opinion is good, contrary to popular belief. It shows you stand for something, and you have something concrete to bring to the table.
A man who stands for nothing will fall for anything — Malcom X
I already mentioned how one of my viral tweets led to securing a blogging role. I found the co-author of my upcoming book by publishing think-pieces online. The main reason he reached out to me was due, of course, to my general profile — but also the opinion I shared through my content. I shared an opinion piece on productivity, with a sharp take on laziness.
It may counter everything you’ve already heard. Most people suggest you wipe out any opinion and remain as neutral as possible. But if you are going to work with some of the most prestigious companies solving complex issues, you need to demonstrate that you can have an opinion on something. It has to go above and beyond your CV — having an opinion online is a great way to draw employers you want to work with, to you.
Gives you the opportunity to establish yourself as an authority
Being yourself online and creating content around this gives you an opportunity to establish yourself as an authority on specific subjects. If you are a copywriter, why not think about sharing content or your opinion on current social media trends as a part of your brand? If you are trying to break into the law industry, be vocal about advocating on behalf of communities you really care about in various spheres. If you are looking to become a chef, don’t be afraid of sharing your favorite food spots with your friends, and giving reviews and recommendations.
Your social media platforms should not be privatized and locked up, but open and accessible. It’s a great way for employers to figure out how much you know on a particular topic, and for you to demonstrate your passion in several different ways.
Shows who you are as a person
Employers don’t want to pick you just because you’re competent. Employers are increasingly looking out for signals that demonstrate you’re a fun person to be around too. With hundreds of good candidates, your social media profile can highlight how interesting you are — if you do it well.
I recently went to an investors meetup to network with the current hotshots in the Venture Capital industry. A senior associate from one of the attending firms encouraged prospective applicants to demonstrate their passion online. Hosting a blog on Medium, she mentioned, was one of the best ways to demonstrate your passion for a topic on a larger platform.
Another associate mentioned that Twitter was one of his favorite places to find founders and recruit potential junior investors. Funnily enough, it was never their business-focused tweets that attracted her, but their funny tweets, their thoughts on the social climate at the time, or a timely tangential tweet that went viral.
Don’t be too afraid to give a glimpse into your life. Given that you aren’t going too far and violating industry standards, make jokes, express yourself, and engage in social media topics that don’t directly relate to your work. If you only put out content to fulfill the stereotype of what you believe a potential employee would be like — it’s likely you’ll come across bland, boring and forgettable.
Don’t be too offensive online. But leverage your social media platforms and tools to show how much of an asset you’ll be to future colleagues, employers, and team members holistically. Not only are you a competent worker, but one with an opinion, a presence, and a platform that makes you incredibly attractive.
So use it.