What social accounts matter when it comes to your resume.

With so many considerations to make when writing a resume, the icing on the cake is whether or not to include your social media accounts — and if you do, where do you start?

Job applicants need to find new, innovative ways to stand out from the crowd. Recruiters look at dozens of “the same” resumes day in and day out, so grab their attention! Listing your social media profiles on your resume as an enhancement allows you to evolve from a one-dimensional piece of paper to an interactive, dynamic version of yourself and your accomplishments. It makes you a real person, rather than a piece of paper. Consider it your digital handshake.

However, before you go and list every social account on your resume, you first need to understand the value that each profile offers in conjunction with your personal-branding and job-application efforts. You also need to fully understand how each network functions, particularly from security and privacy standpoints.

The worst mistake you can make is to have a public profile with content that you do not want to be public. Also, whether you include your profiles or not, it’s safe to expect that prospective employers are Googling you (you should also be Googling yourself) so getting a handle on your privacy settings is a must-do from here on out.

When you’re ready to stand apart from the crowd, follow our best practices here to decide which social media to include on your resume and why.

What social media accounts to include on your resume

This is an easy one; you should always include LinkedIn. If you’re a professional or aspiring professional, you absolutely should be on LinkedIn and this social profile should absolutely be included in your resume. LinkedIn demonstrates that you’re savvy, modern, and understand branding. Since marketing shows up in nearly every profession these days, if you can show that you understand personal branding you’ll have a leg up.

There is a catch, though. Just having a LinkedIn profile isn’t good enough. It better be optimized. This means your profile needs to have a proper (and professional) photo, a well-written summary, and a comprehensive work-experience section at the minimum! Also, please do not write your summary in the third person. Be authentic and conversational because again, this is your digital handshake. Would you introduce yourself in the third person in person? Probably not.

Related: 10 Ways to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

Aside from LinkedIn, the next best branding tool that makes the most sense to include on a resume is Twitter. Twitter is a wonderful personal-branding tool and a fantastic profile to include in your job application because you can demonstrate a multitude of interests and attributes through your feed. It can tell a story; you can share your sense of humor, your personal interests, and what’s important to you. If you include a Twitter profile, be certain that it’s public and active, and that goes for your followers, too. It matters that you’re sharing your dynamic, interesting self via your tweets and not a highlight reel of your customer service complaints or any extreme or highly controversial interests or points of view on topics like race, sex, politics, etc.

In short, your Twitter profile should show off your multifaceted personality that’s compelling if you’re going to use it as a part of your job application.

What social networks to carefully consider

There are some social networks that you could include, but you should consider carefully. When it comes to your privacy and your public image, you need to think good and hard about adding the following networks to your resume. If you’re not sure, listen to your gut.

First on this list is Facebook. Facebook is acceptable only if it makes direct sense for the position you’re applying for. Because Facebook is quite possibly the most personal social network, you’ll have to think carefully about whether it has a direct connection to the job or not. For example, if you’re applying for a social media marketing position, it could. However, your profile doesn’t necessarily need to be the fully personal, unfiltered version your friends see. Facebook has some ingenious settings where you can have the perceived look of a public profile and yet still hold a wealth of privacy. Learn and understand the privacy settings, and then consider what information you share on Facebook and whether it would add value to your job application.

The second network under our “maybe” section is Instagram. Instagram is an excellent social media platform turned personal branding tool, but it’s very niche. Like Twitter, you can tell a story on your account, but this one is less about your point of view and more of what’s important to you. Instagram stories can draw you in with the use of images and make your digital handshake an impressive, authentic one. It makes sense to include Instagram if visual storytelling or branding is an aspect of the job you’re applying for since that’s essentially the purpose of Instagram: to tell a story in pictures. If the visual tale you’re telling enhances your application — and moves the conversation forward — then include it on your resume. If your Instagram is pictures of your dog, don’t bother.

The last network that could be considered a strong “maybe” would be YouTube. I love YouTube as a way to tell stories that showcase you as a thought leader especially in sales, marketing, or leadership positions. Whether the recruiter looks at all of your videos or just one, you can use YouTube as a way to present yourself as a marketer, salesperson, public speaker, and broadcaster. It’s a fantastic tool, and with all the power the platform offers you, be sure to be engaged online. Since YouTube is public content, you might have others review your video and comment; be certain to respond to reviews in a fair, humble, and honest way.  

Social media networks that don’t belong on your resume

There are some social networks that definitely should not be on your resume. At the end of the day, it could be any of the sites mentioned in this article — except for LinkedIn. You need to be able to make the judgment call. That said, there are sites that I would be hard-pressed to think would make sense to include on a resume.

One particular platform that comes to mind is Snapchat. Snapchat is an image sharing, multimedia mobile application. Since it’s a mix of private messaging and public content, you’ll need to strongly weigh the value of adding it to your job application. From a public content perspective, it’s a live site and it allows you to tell stories like every other social network — but these stories are live. Snapchat could enhance your job application if you’re sharing content that makes sense to be shared live and it’s related to your industry, but that is a unique situation for this niche networking site.

Because Snapchat is a primarily video-based, storytelling machine, you can use it when video-based storytelling is a skill you want to showcase. Anything under the communications or broadcasting umbrella would apply, but you need to think about it very strategically. Snaps are typically inside jokes, fun use of filters, and funny moments — would that really make sense on your professional resume?  

You have so many choices to make when applying for a job and developing a professional brand, but what matters at the end of the day is being true to yourself. Aim for authenticity and a personal-values approach to all things, including job hunting and resume writing, and you’ll line up with your dream job in no time.

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