As social media has evolved into its current ubiquitous form, an online wealth of personal information has become easily accessible by millions of users – including employers. Though these platforms can be great ways to stay in touch with old friends and connect with users from around the world, remember that what you say and do online is evocative of your personal brand – it shows others who you are as a person. How do you want to portray yourself, especially when potential employers are watching?
Organizations are becoming increasingly active on social media. Whether it’s vetting a job candidate or checking up on a particular employee, social media can have an effect (either positive or negative) on one’s current or future career. Below we outline a few rules to help keep your social media accounts professional and work appropriate.
Rule One: Think about your audience.
Social media platforms are in the public realm, and what’s posted is out there for everyone to see. Keep this in mind – if you wouldn’t say it to your grandma, don’t post it online. If a post is not appropriate for a wide audience range, then it’s likely that an employer won’t appreciate it either. Try to keep posts appropriate for all age groups and maintain professionalism on your pages by avoiding explicit or off-color content.
Rule Two: Take time to cool off.
Posting in a heat of anger can often result in negative repercussions later on. Whether it’s a dispute with a colleague or a disagreement with a supervisor, take a step back and cool off before posting online. Typically once people have taken time to cool off, hurtful comments and spiteful remarks never make their way into a post. So if you find yourself looking to vent, confide in a trusted friend or family member instead of your Twitter followers.
Rule Three: Perform consistent clean-ups.
It’s easy to forget about old posts. Filter through your page every-so-often to ensure that anything you’ve shared in the past is appropriate for an employer to see in the future, and delete anything that isn’t. Performing regular social media clean ups will ensure that your profiles are appropriate – even if someone decides to go back through years’ worth of posts.
Rule Four: Utilize privacy settings.
Many social media platforms offer a variety of security settings that give you control over who has access to what. Make sure to set privacy settings according to your personal preferences – this will help you better manage what the world sees. If you want your posts private, keep them that way. However, it’s important to note that even though your profiles may be private, you should continue to maintain a level of professional integrity on your accounts by referring back to Rule One.
When used appropriately, your social media pages can be a great way to show off your interests, hobbies or skills. By taking time to think before you post and effectively managing your pages, you can ensure that your profiles are professional, work appropriate and representative of you as a person.