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"Social Proof" Requires a Consistent Identity

By Susan P. Joyce

Some basic elements must be the same for every social network you use professionally. Using the same elements, described below, will help employers and recruiters see the whole picture of who you are and what you can do.

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Use the Same Name for All Professional Social Media

Don't be Mary Jane Smith on LinkedIn, and M.J. Smith on Twitter, and expect employers to figure out those two profiles belong to the same person.

When those employers receive your resume and search on your name, be sure that they find good information about you. Even if you have lived a perfect, blameless life, someone else using the same name online could have a very bad online reputation that negatively impacts you. Mistaken online identity happens often!

[More: Your Most Important Keywords and Defensive Googling]

A LinkedIn Profile is usually at the top of the first page of search results on any name. Hopefully, you are using a clean, relatively unique version of your name on your resume and Profile, so a search on your name provides useful information that is about you and not about someone else.

[More: Managing Your Online Reputation]

Use the Same Photo for All Professional Social Media

Yes, you do need to use a photo! Not really optional for use in social media today. But don't use an informal, group photo, or a picture of you with your pet, spouse, parent, best friend, child. Use a headshot photo of you with a neutral background behind you.

Using the same headshot photo for all of your business social media profiles helps people recognize which accounts belong to you when they see your Profile, particularly helpful with LinkedIn where many people may share the same name.

And, using the same headshot for all of your profiles helps people "connect the dots" among all of your social media activities.

Then, when the employer researches you, they will see all of your activities, and know they are the same person. They will also recognize you when you walk in for your first interview, and, hopefully, you will recognize them, too, because you will have researched them online as well. 

[More: LinkedIn for Company Research]

Connect Your Social Network Profiles

More profiles = added social proof of who you are and what you can do.

Connect your LinkedIn Profile to your other professional social media profiles, like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and so on by editing the contact information on your Profile, which allows you to create up to 3 links.

As social media guru Stacy Zapar recommended in her blog, add your Twitter handle to your LinkedIn Profile's Professional Headline to connect those two major profiles. If you don't have a personal blog or other web platform, add your LinkedIn Profile's URL to your Twitter Bio, for your business/professional Twitter account.

Include links to your LinkedIn Profile and your other professional social media to every resume you submit to make sure that the right social media profiles are found by the employer. It shows them you are social media savvy, and it also precludes them from thinking someone else's profile is your's.

More About Social Proof

About the author...

Online job search expert Susan P. Joyce has been observing the online job search world and teaching online job search skills since 1995. A veteran of the United States Marine Corps and a recent Visiting Scholar at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Susan is a two-time layoff “graduate” who has worked in human resources at Harvard University and in a compensation consulting firm. Since 1998, Susan has been editor and publisher of Follow Susan on Twitter at @jobhuntorg and on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+.