How to Be “Real You” on Social While Remaining Professional

Authentic Stamp Showing Real Certified ProductEspecially for job seekers, it has become necessary to be social media savvy these days. And with the frenzy that comes with people rushing to social there seems to be a problem…

How do you be the “real you” and be consistently professional, too?

In an effort to be ‘authentic,’ some on social media often weave in unfiltered personal diatribes and passionate assertions/opinions that leave their followers, friends and contacts reeling.

On the other hand, some try so hard to blend social with professional – they engage so many filters – that they end up creating chinks in their personal reputation.

So how do you, or should you, balance your authentic personality… with what needs to be a professional persona?

Pitfalls and Benefits Arise When Being Authentic on Social

Portraying one’s authentic self without a filter is all well and good for you if you are willing to accept the risk that you will offend some and more so, are willing to live with the consequences. For example, are you willing to thwart opportunities to get an interview with or land business from certain connections based on asserting your personal values, religious beliefs, political ideas or even personality quirks?

Perhaps, for you, such divisiveness may be desirable, as you seek to attract like-minded people with similar values and cultures with whom to work, do business and simply, with whom to network.

A More Conservative Persona May Reel in a Wider Audience

Or, perhaps you are more risk averse and want everyone to like you and wish to be able to open doors at virtually any opportunity. You simply want to venture online to present your best, most non-controversial self and cast the widest, most appealing net. In those situations, your profiles and posts should be more conservative and professional and focus on a display of your subject matter expertise.

Perhaps, if your personality lends itself to it, you may even sprinkle in lighthearted posts with the aim of making others happy or to spark a giggle. Some might consider this a benign way of navigating social media, but for you, the return on being safe is having a reputation for being laid back and approachable. Further, to really be a team player, you will add a meaningful comment or two at other folks’ posts or share others’ wisdom to show reciprocity and support.

The Bottom-line Key to Achieving Career Momentum Through Social

The bottom line key to achieve career momentum through social media–whether you wish to be full on authentic or take a more conformist approach–is thoughtfulness laced with a bit of strategy.

So, even if you are going to splay your personality in its full color for all to see, don’t confuse that with being unfiltered and free for all. Think before you post. If you are creating a new profile for a popular social media site like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or Pinterest or even for your blog or personal career marketing website, consider your audience’s needs and pain points. Don’t just paint a me-centric picture of yourself and focus in only on what interests you.

For example, you may be tempted to broadcast that you “love heavy metal music despite it being at odds with your southern country roots;” that is okay as long as you can weave it into the context of a bigger story that relates to your target audience’s needs.

While not every single thing you post to a social network has to have deep and resounding meaning and connection to your target audience, it would be wise to consider the following as a rule of thumb for a majority of your posts:

Will the story (and conversation threads around that story) endear you to a potential hiring manager or someone who can network you into their company? Will your story strengthen a connection and lift your career goals? If so, keep it; if not, strike it.

Creating a “real you” persona on social media doesn’t have to be difficult.

Just consider being the “real professional you”.





For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Glassdoor!



JacquiAbout the Author: Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter is a Glassdoor career and workplace expert, chief career writer and partner with CareerTrend, and is one of only 28 Master Resume Writers (MRW) globally. An intuitive researcher, she helps professionals unearth compelling career story details to help best present their unique experience, skillset and interests in resumes and social media profiles.

In addition Jacqui has written for the Career Management Alliance Connection monthly newsletter and blog, ExecuNet’s Career Smart Advisor, The Kansas City Star, The Business Journal and The Wall Street Journal.  In addition, she and her husband, “Sailor Rob,” host a lively careers-focused blog. Jacqui also is a power Twitter user listed on several “Best People to Follow” lists for job seekers. Follow Jacqui on Twitter!




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