In Career Discussions, Career Education, job search

Are you practicing safe career-friendly social media activity?

Everyone knows that LinkedIn is the professional social media site. Outside of LinkedIn, you might think of your social media pages, especially Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as your private property where you can say and do whatever you want. But think again. In this digital age, your social media accounts can also act as your resume. 

You can bet that before hiring you, a company will check your social media and you can bet if they don’t like what they see, they will not hire you. And, because companies often have employment agreements that include a clause about employee behavior and the reputation of the company, your social media presence could also cost you your current job. 

Don’t miss out on that opportunity because you social media isn’t up to par. Follow these tips to create a career friendly social media presence. 

Don’t Complain About An Employer (Past or Present!)

Keep your grievances with an employer off the web. Nothing is secret on the internet and no matter how long ago it was, it could come back to haunt you. 

If you are looking for a job, you might have just left one. If you have a long rant about what your old boss did and how it was their fault you left, your next employer is going to pause before hiring you. If you include their name in your post, someone could find it just by Googling your name and the name of the company. 

In fact, it’s probably not a good idea to air any grievances on your social media. If you’re ranting about something personal, a company is going to wonder if their private information is safe in your hands. 

Check Your Spelling and Grammar

Yes, it’s just social media and yes you’ll probably use a lot of shorthand and that’s fine. But check your past posts for silly things like using the right “your.” Do you think someone is going to hire you if your posts are riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes? A few here and there is understandable, a lot could lose you a job. 

Easy on the Swears

You might think you’re being funny, but an employer might think you’re being crude. They might see any behavior you exhibit online as the behavior you will exhibit in an office or work environment. A swear here and there is ok but don’t be crass. It’s also not a good idea to have inappropriate language in your About section or in your profile picture. This is someone’s first impression of you. It can reflect who you are while still making a good impression. 

Ease Up on the Party Pics 

We know you like to have a good time, but you don’t have to flaunt it. Your next employer does not need to know exactly how much fun you like to have. Pictures with a lot of drinking or any drug use should be avoided, even if it was legal. If you wouldn’t send it in an email to an employer, it probably shouldn’t be on your social media. 

If you just have to post those pics from your Girl’s Night Out so all your friends can see, check the privacy setting before you post. In fact, you can change the privacy settings on any picture on Facebook that you’ve ever posted. 

On every post or picture, there is a little down arrow under your name. Click it to either edit post privacy or change who can see your picture. You can choose a very specific audience, or just limit it to your friends. Remember, on Facebook, all profile pictures are public. 

Display Work You’re Proud Of

Instead of posting party pictures or political rants, use your social media pages to share work and accomplishment that you’re proud of. Treat it as sort of a portfolio. Share writing you’ve done or designs you’ve created. Make your pages reflect the tone of what you do and your future employers will be impressed. 

Remember, Nothing is Private

Even if you’re an expert on privacy settings and you’re careful about what you make public, just remember–online, nothing is private. If someone wants to find something, they probably can. Sites can get hacked, information stolen, old posts can get brought back to the public eye. 

If you’re not sure what’s out there about you, try Googling yourself. This is what an employer or recruiter will do before deciding to work with you. If you don’t like what you find, they probably won’t either and you should start doing some cleaning. 

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