Staying well-groomed socially

When you’re going to the office every day, you make sure you’re properly groomed, but you don’t tend to worry about the metaphorical two-day stubble on your LinkedIn account.

When you’re unemployed, you can probably safely go a day or two without shaving, but keeping your social media persona looking bright and snappy is essential.

One piece of advice I was given about surviving a layoff was to get up at the same time every morning and have a shower, just like any other work day.  It’s a psychological thing, really, to keep you in the employment mindset. Sleeping in and hanging out in your jammies is a slippery slope, unless you’re one of those rare people who can work effectively in your shlubs.

People who are happily employed and fully engaged by their jobs tend to let their social media sites go to pot. I’ve changed my LinkedIn password half a dozen times because I went there so rarely when I had a job — usually just when I had a new request for a connection — that I’d forget it.

Proper social media grooming is vital when you’re unemployed. You don’t want prospective employers to see you with figurative bed head and dirty fingernails — and they will look. In a 2009 study, Jump Start Social Media found 75 per cent of hiring managers used LinkedIn on a regular basis to research candidates before making an offer; another 66 per cent used LinkedIn to find candidates.

“Social media tools offer hiring managers the ability to gain a broad picture of an individual,” Rosina Racioppi, president of WOMEN Unlimited Inc., said in response to that 2009 survey. “I prefer LinkedIn because its focus is on business connections and it allows you to see the professional beyond their resume. Utilizing social media tools enables hiring managers to assess whether a candidate is an appropriate fit for their organization.”

So for your social media toilette, consider the following:

– If you only have one social media presence, make it on LinkedIn, because it’s strictly business;

– Join groups and take part in professional discussions on LinkedIn — it shows you have a brain and are engaged by your industry;

– Sharing links to interesting articles also shows your engagement;

– Broaden your network by asking for introductions from people you know to people you don’t;

– Finish your profile — LinkedIn will tell you when you’re done — and keep it up to date;

– Develop a personal brand and make sure your social media sites conform;

– Use good judgment and common sense — and privacy settings. If you wouldn’t want your mother to see you in that bathing suit busting that move at the pool party, chances are you don’t want your prospective employer taking a peek either.