With technological advances providing new ways of networking and communication, social media has become an integral part of people’s lives as well as company operation. In recent years, its popularity has skyrocketed. The birth of MySpace and subsequently Facebook began the rise of the world’s obsession, which has continued with numerous other platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat and TikTok.
Though these sites are primarily viewed as platforms for social interaction, they’ve also become a way for businesses and individuals to network and market. As a result, many employers now view job candidates’ social media activity as part of the vetting process. If you’re trying to get a job in the self-storage industry, you should be aware of how your social presence could help or harm your prospects. Here are some tips for managing your accounts to ensure the best outcome.
Employers Are Watching
A 2020 survey by Express Employment Professionals indicated that 67% of employers screen job candidates through social networks. That same year, 70% of employers who responded to a survey by The Harris Poll said they believe every company should screen social media profiles during the hiring process.
Platforms like LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook are routinely used by employers as a way to research job applicants, scrutinize personal details and gain insight to a person’s life and character. What they’re trying to determine is whether you’re a good fit for their culture. As a filtering mechanism, social media can quicken the decision-making process because it helps hiring managers weed out unprofessional candidates or discover great ones. In fact, about one-third of companies who screen potential employees on social media find information that prompts them to hire those applicants.
The Importance of LinkedIn
Of all the social media platforms available, LinkedIn is particularly valuable for job seekers in self-storage or any other industry. The site is used primarily for professional reasons such as posting jobs, congratulating others on new positions and work anniversaries, announcing new roles, and more.
Research shows that individuals with a comprehensive and updated LinkedIn account have a 71% higher chance of getting a job interview. Maintaining your presence on this platform demonstrates that you’re proactive and professional.
An effective profile should include your updated job history, skills and a professional headshot. Also, the more connections you make through the platform the better. Employers and hiring managers are looking for candidates whose networks have the potential to result in new business.
LinkedIn is also valuable as a platform because it allows employers to post jobs and easily review candidates who apply directly through the site. This is a feature you should take advantage of if seeking a new role.
What Not to Share on Social Media
Because self-storage employers will likely be looking at what you post through your social accounts, refrain from sharing anything profane, violent, explicit or illegal. Your profile pictures, biographies, posts, comments, shares and follows formulate your online persona. Not only does this include your direct posts and interactions but any posts in which you’re tagged by someone else. Remember, a professional social media presence also comprises the people and accounts with whom you interact.
Avoid posting evidence of the following:
Alcohol and drug use. Posts on drug use, including photos that reveal excessive drinking, are considered unacceptable by most employers. This includes interacting with accounts that promote drug or alcohol abuse.
Revealing photos. Refrain from posting pictures that show you in compromising situations. Be mindful of what you’re wearing and the image you’re projecting. These might also be reported to your current employer as unethical behavior.
Bullying. Never bully or partake in the bullying of others on social media. This includes rude or disrespectful comments as well as following accounts that insult individuals or groups. Posts that could be deemed malicious are unacceptable. You also shouldn’t comment on or like the social media posts of those who actively bully.
Complaints about your employer or customers. Negative comments about your job, company or boss should never be addressed on social media. They’re unprofessional and unfair to your employer. Instead, take up any complaints or issues through the appropriate channels.
Similarly, complaints about customers also should never be verbalized on social platforms. As an employee, you’re a company representative. Negativity about clients can paint your employer in a bad light, and outwardly disrespecting customers as well as your employer can inhibit a future job search.
Using Social Media to your Advantage
Here are some ways to leverage social media to your advantage:
Establishing your personal brand. Just as companies use social content and engagement to elevate their brand, individuals can create a personal brand. Present yourself in a way that exudes professionalism, kindness and respect. This’ll catch the eye of employers. In addition, post items related to volunteer work, support of nonprofit organizations, and awards or professional achievements.
Networking. Your social media use can also reveal mutual connections with employees of other organizations, which can be helpful in securing a role with a new company. Recommendations and referrals from your contacts to employers can increase your chances of getting hired. In addition, following and interacting with companies can reveal your interest in their business and uncover potential opportunities.
Marketing your professionalism. Keeping your social media profiles professional and appropriate is crucial during a job search as well as after you’re hired. Not only should you filter your profiles while looking for work, it can be critical to retaining your current position. Most companies take staff behavior on social media very seriously. Many have strict codes of conduct that must be followed. In fact, written social media contracts can be an additional measure an employer takes to ensure its team projects a respectable picture of the company.
Govern Your Online Presence
How you present yourself online is largely up to you. Taking a thoughtful, active approach to how you’re perceived as well as what can be seen is a great way to attract, rather than repel, a potential self-storage employer. Here are some additional tips on how you can effectively govern your social media presence:
- Use your privacy settings.
- Share a professional profile picture.
- Don’t overshare personal information. Even if your account is private, screenshots of posts can be taken, saved and sent to others.
- Google yourself. You should be aware of how you’re portrayed on the internet.
- Don’t overshare your opinion on politics or religion.
Abigail Lehman is recruiting and onboarding specialist for Adams Property Group, a real estate investment group. Founded in 2008 and based in Charleston, South Carolina, the company manages a self-storage portfolio comprising about 1.6 million square feet. Its properties include 19 Monster Self Storage and Your Storage Units facilities in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. For more information, call 843.941.4001.