IF YOU are looking at a career move or are in the unfortunate position of having been made redundant, take a close look at how you are using social media.

Is your personal branding consistently professional?

It needs to be if you want to impress potential recruiters that you are the right person for the job.

You can present and control your online image more effectively by paying attention to the following:

Bad profile picture

The picture that you choose for your social media profile speaks a thousand words!

A bad photo may stop recruiters and potential employers from reaching out to you.

Forget the “cutesy” or “expressive” pictures and get a professional headshot photo taken instead. Use this on your profile.

Not using your real name

There are varying opinions about the use of real first and last names on social networks, mainly due to privacy issues.

However, if you want a potential hiring manager to be able to learn more about you, create at least one social profile that contains your full name.

This will be your career profile, so keep it consistent and professional.

Duplicate social accounts

While you are creating new social network profiles, make sure you weed out any duplicate references to your name across all social networks.

Why is this important?

If recruiters are looking for you online and they come across multiple accounts with your name or variations of your name, it will only lead to unnecessary confusion and inconsistent information. It may also prompt integrity concerns.

Questionable or offensive content

A big part of presenting yourself online in social networks is about enhancing your image.

Make sure you remove any potentially offensive content such as posts, images or videos created by yourself or your followers.

You can just disable them so that they still remain in your archive but are invisible to the general public.

This also goes for content you are tagged onto by others.

No comment moderation

It is fairly common nowadays for people to vent their opinions on their social networks.

However, as a serious job seeker, you should control what you say online and how you say it.

This includes moderating any comments left by others. Make sure you are putting your best image out there and let your contacts know you are searching for a job so that they keep comments professional and proper.

Employer or client bashing

This is a big no-no. There is virtually no recruiter or employer out there who wants to see negative comments, or people complaining or whining about current or past employers.

We all have bad days at work, but leave it off social feeds. Avoid negative comments at all costs.

Misleading information

Whatever you do, please do not try to fake it on social networks.

Experienced recruiters are highly aware of the different tactics that job seekers use to try to paint themselves in a better light and can quickly spot discrepancies in online profiles.

The best course of action is to create an authentic and consistent brand for yourself.

Always highlight your skills, achievements and credentials in a truthful manner, and never lie to look better.

Lack of professional networking

Another mistake that job seekers continually make with their social network profiles is to avoid networking with other professionals.

To a hiring manager, this may cause a candidate to look inexperienced or not serious about his job search.

Reach out and connect online to grow your social network and industry contacts.

Leaving your profile open to hackers

The hacking of social media profiles is something that happens on a daily basis around the world.

When this happens, your social profile can become an instant spam creation tool that will send out annoying and offensive messages to anyone in your network.

Avoid this from happening by setting your privacy settings and monitoring your social networks for any suspicious activity.

Sign out of your accounts when you are not active and use caution when accessing social networks from untrusted devices, including mobile devices.

No social profiles anywhere

Job seekers without online profiles are at an immediate disadvantage to their social media-savvy competitors in terms of accessibility to opportunities.

They may be further disadvantaged and viewed as laggards who are not up to speed with technology advances.

In this day and age, job seekers are expected to have a certain level of Internet and social networking awareness and usage.

Stand out as a candidate online. Stay professional and true to your personal brand and make social media work for you.

Article by Brian Richards, the president of en world Singapore, an international recruiting agency focusing on managerial and senior-level career solutions. For more information, visit www.enworld.com