There’s no denying that Social Media is a dominant force in many people's lives now. It’s a 21st century norm. But, with this new standard comes a gray area wherein people’s personal and public personas can often crossover. And, it just so happens that nearly all who participate in or on social media are - or want to be - an employee somewhere. This is where things can get tricky for you and your Instagram feed.
With more and more employers scrutinizing potential employees' Facebook pages and Tweets prior to hiring them, content is key. Your pics, posts and all that lie between are being viewed under a microscope. So, to avoid being fired, or having a non-hire worthy petri dish for companies to see, follow these 11 easy social media do's & don'ts for career success.
Do – Have A Social Media Profile
You have your own brand and it began the day you were born. Social media simply allows you to communicate that brand with so many more people. Be mindful of what your brand represents and how you are communicating it because social posts never go away.
Do – Have A Professional Page Such As LinkedIn If You Are Not Willing To Accept Colleagues As Social Friends
Something important to note here is that you will be connected to someone that knows someone at work, so people will know that you have a personal page. Some employees choose to have a professional page in addition to their personal page but also be aware that some people at work may be able to view your page through connected friends.
Do – Use Your Social Media Pages To Promote Your Peers And Your Company And Their Events
There is tremendous value in an employee that is spreading the word on the company’s success and encouraging others. This can be a part of your unique value proposition.
Do - Be Aware Of The Platform You Are On
Utilize LinkedIn for business exclusively. This means you need to adhere to using a business profile and professional picture. Don’t post pics of you at a party from Friday night unless there is a good tie back to how this is driving business for you.
Do - Edit Your Social Media Posts
Don’t allow for typos and misspelled words to flood your feed. Be aware that excessive typos can send a message that you are uneducated or careless.
Don’t - Use Social Media To Attack Others
Even if you don’t think anyone will see it, I promise you they will. I’ve had employees post about not liking other employees and this always ends badly. Keep your squabbles to face-to-face discussions with your direct manager and anyone you are having issues with, not with a global social platform.
Don’t - Post About Your Relationships Unless You Want To Invite Your Work Into Your Personal Life
This is a personal choice and needs to be thought out carefully. Don’t post pictures of yourself partying. Do I really need to explain this one?
Don’t - Post Pictures That You Don’t Want Seen By Your Boss Or Their Spouse
When I am recruiting people I search for them on all social handles and I search for connections we have in common. It is not impossible to get a glimpse of someone’s feed even if you are not connected. Be aware of the image you are projecting.
Don’t - Think That Your Current Employer And Potential Employers Aren’t Auditing Your Posts Because They Are
This is shaping how others view you at work, so be sure to use it to your advantage. And, yes, “Big Brother” is watching as I’ve had screen shots of employees posts sent to me by other employees that are connected to someone that I am not. Remember that social posts happen and can be shared via a screen shot to someone you didn’t want to see it.
Don’t - Make Disparaging Comments About Your Employer
This is grounds for termination in many companies.
Don’t - Post In The Middle Of The Day When You Are Supposed To Be Working
You very well may be called in by your supervisor inquiring what you have been doing that day instead of your work.
In closing, social media can be a phenomenal asset when used wisely. So, use it to HELP you, not HURT you at work - or when looking for work.
I walk into a room full of men and I know exactly what they're thinking: "What does she know about whisky?"
I know this because many men have asked me that same question from the moment I started my career in spirits a decade ago.
In a male-dominated industry, I realized early on that I would always have to work harder than my male counterparts to prove my credibility, ability and knowledge in order to earn the trust of leadership stakeholders, coworkers, vendors and even consumers of our products. I am no stranger to hard work and appreciate that everyone needs to prove their worth when starting any career or role. What struck me however, was how the recognition and opportunities seemed to differ between genders. Women usually had to prove themselves before they were accepted and promoted ("do the work first and earn it"), whereas men often were more easily accepted and promoted on future potential. It seemed like their credibility was automatically and immediately assumed. Regardless of the challenges and adversity I faced, my focus was on proving my worth within the industry, and I know many other women were doing the same.
Thankfully, the industry has advanced in the last few years since those first uncomfortable meetings. The rooms I walk into are no longer filled with just men, and perceptions are starting to change significantly. There are more women than ever before making, educating, selling, marketing and conceptualizing whiskies and spirits of all kinds. Times are changing for the better and it's benefitting the industry overall, which is exciting to see.
For me, starting a career in the spirits business was a happy accident. Before spirits, I had worked in the hospitality industry and on the creative agency side. That background just happened to be what a spirits company was looking for at the time and thus began my journey in the industry. I was lucky that my gender did not play a deciding role in the hiring process, as I know that might not have been the case for everyone at that time.
Now, ten plus years later, I am fortunate to work for and lead one of the most renowned and prestigious Whisky brands in the world.. What was once an accident now feels like my destiny. The talent and skill that goes into the whisky-making process is what inspired me to come back and live and breathe those brands as if they were my own. It gave me a deep understanding and appreciation of an industry that although quite large, still has an incredible amount of handmade qualities and a specific and meticulous craft I have not seen in any other industry before. Of course, my journey has not been without challenges, but those obstacles have only continued to light my passion for the industry.
The good news is, we're on the right track. When you look at how many females hold roles in the spirits industry today compared to what it looked like 15 years ago, there has been a significant increase in both the number of women working and the types of roles women are hired for. From whisky makers and distillers to brand ambassadors and brand marketers, we're seeing more women in positions of influence and more spirits companies willing to stand up and provide a platform for women to make an impact. Many would likely be surprised to learn that one of our team's Whisky Makers is a woman. They might even be more surprised to learn that women, with a heightened sense of smell compared to our male counterparts, might actually be a better fit for the role! We're nowhere near equality, but the numbers are certainly improving.
It was recently reported by the Distilled Spirits Council that women today represent a large percentage of whisky drinkers and that has helped drive U.S. sales of distilled spirits to a record high in 2017. Today, women represent about 37% of the whisky drinkers in the United States, which is a large increase compared to the 1990s when a mere 15% of whisky drinkers were women. As for what's causing this change? I believe it's a mix of the acceptance of women to hold roles within the spirits industry partnered with thoughtful programs and initiatives to engage with female consumers.
While whisky was previously known for being a man's drink, reserved for after-dinner cigars behind closed doors, it is now out in the open and accessible for women to learn about and enjoy too.
What was once subculture is now becoming the norm and women are really breaking through and grabbing coveted roles in the spirits business. That said, it's up to the industry as a whole to continue to push it forward. When you work for a company that values diversity, you're afforded the opportunity to be who you are and let that benefit your business. Working under the model that the best brand initiatives come from passionate groups of people with diverse backgrounds, we are able to offer different points of view and challenge our full team to bring their best work forward, which in turn creates better experiences for our audience. We must continue to diversify the industry and break against the status quo if we really want to continue evolving.
While we've made great strides as an industry, there is still a lot of work to be done. To make a change and finally achieve gender equality in the workplace, both men and women need to stand behind the cause as we are better collectively as a balanced industry. We have proved that we have the ability to not only meet the bar, but to also raise it - now we just need everyone else to catch up.