Delete those boozy holiday snaps and serpent-tongued tweets – business leaders reveal how to fill your feed to land that next big job
1. An A-list playlist
Alex Boateng, head of urban at Island Records
“I’m 100 per cent looking out for music taste. Even if you’re a massive fan of stuff I hate, at least you’ve got passion. I don’t want somebody who sits on the fence or who just agrees with the crowd; I think how you get your argument across on social media translates to the industry.
“Island has always taken chances, so it works in our favour to have people around who challenge us. We want someone we can bounce ideas and opinions off.”
2. Flaming-hot takes
Matt Barr, director of action sports agency All Conditions Media
“I want engagement with issues in our industry. Recently, a New York Times article about naming tricks in extreme sports sparked debate. If you can take something niche and have a funny and informed opinion in 280 characters, I’ll interview you.”
Check out Matt’s action sports podcast Looking Sideways (wearelookingsideways.com)
Lara Morgan, entrepreneur and founder of cosmetics supplier Pacific Direct
“I want to see that they lead an active life. I think it’s fantastic to see a bit of camping; that tells me I’m looking at someone who’s grounded. But better still, sporting competitiveness.
“Think about all the assets that a professional athlete or dedicated sportsman has – they’re the exact same assets that make for a fantastic employee.”
Check out Lara’s business success story in Unsexy Business by Jamie Waller, out now
4. Next-level snaps
Rupert Rixon, founder of digital agency Perspective Pictures
“Social media is where people project what they aspire to be. I want people who aren’t satisfied with a normal photo. I don’t necessarily demand for it to have worked out perfectly, but I want to get the impression that effort has gone into making it visually interesting.
“I want to get the feeling you’ve got carried away with it, that you’re excited.”
5. All the @s
Mike Southon, serial entrepreneur and business writer
“The best people on Twitter are listeners, not shouters; the ones @-ing relevant people and furthering dialogue by linking to articles. That’s what makes the best salespeople, too. You come across as someone who’s listening and understanding what’s being said, and coming up with a solution.”
Mike’s book The Beermat Entrepreneur is out now (Pearson)
6. Loadsa links
Dan Kieran, CEO and founder of crowdfunding publisher Unbound
“Pessimists never fit in. You need glass-half-full people. They’re the ones you want in a crisis: they won’t just sit around thinking, “Well this is sh*t,” they’ll work towards getting around the issue.
“I’ve found, on social media, that optimists link to interesting but obscure articles and news pieces.”
Dan’s book The Surfboard is out 20 September (Unbound)
7. Off-duty interest
Andrew Reeve, CEO and founder of online beer shop HonestBrew
“It’s always interesting to us if we can see that someone’s got a side hustle or hobby. It doesn’t matter what it is – it could be that they’re into cross stitch – as long as they dive head-first into it.
“Because we, as a company, give a sh*t about what we do, and I want to find and work with people who give a sh*t about what they do, too.”
8. Quotes but better
Scott Morrison, founder of creative consultancy The Boom!
“There is a place for inspiring quotes on social media. I don’t mean the cookie-cutter stuff recycled everywhere, but wisdom that’s relevant and makes you think, taken from interesting poets or philosophy. It’s a good indication of worldliness and authenticity.”
Scott’s book Creative Superpowers is out now (Unbound)
A final word of advice
ShortList’s editorial director Phil Hilton chimes in with his two cents on Twitter
So I’m a boss, an employer, essentially ‘the man’.
That grey authority-figure covered so well in School Of Rock. In this capacity, I interview and employ people all the time. And I admit I look at their social media, partly just hoping someone will include street poetry in their interests, but partly to see what they’re like.
Firstly, I can smell a dodgy, contrived, work-friendly profile. (“Spilled a turmeric latte on my New Yorker tote. Will mop it up with the sourdough I baked before morning yoga #fail.”) Please don’t bother.
One thing I would say is: try to give voice to your positive side. Social media often brings out people’s inner disaffected teen, their pouting SoundCloud rapper alter-ego. Joyless, bitter and sad.
These are attractive qualities in the right context but, truth be told, no good to me. So leave out the blackened fingernails bits of you, the scowling misanthrope. Part of going to work is joining in, bringing enthusiasm, giving a sh*t about stuff that really isn’t very cool.
This is what I need to see. I get it, I secretly hate everyone too, I just keep it to myself.
(Images: Shutterstock/Thomas Peham)