“Big Brother” is Always Watching You on Social Media
It goes without saying that having a presence on social media has become more of a necessity than a luxury at this point.
Sure, Facebook is still the place where you go to see your friends obnoxiously post pictures of their kids; Instagram is still the place where you post pictures of your food and look at memes; and Twitter is still the place where you learn what celebrities and influencers are up to. However, your own presence on all of these platforms reflect who you are to not just your friends and family, but also potential employers.
According to an article from CareerBuilder, about 70% of employers snoop through the social media profiles of their job candidates. With that being said, are you comfortable with potential employers seeing everything on your social media accounts?
If the answer to that is “no,” fear not! There are several things that you can do to help clean up your social media presence, and how to keep some things private.
A good way to start off this exercise is by Googling your name and seeing what comes up. If you have a relatively common name, maybe through your hometown or state after your name to help narrow down your results.
Once you find results related to you, take a close look at them. Ask yourself if these are the results you would want to see if you were hiring yourself. Articles about your achievements, examples of your work, and links to your social media profiles are all great things.
I Google myself regularly to make sure I maintain a positive image online. While looking one time, I tracked down an old blogging profile I made back when I was in middle school. It was full of typos, cringe-worthy things only a dumb pre-teen would say, and absolutely nothing of benefit to myself albeit a few laughs. I was able to have it taken down in a matter of minutes, but if that would have been the only thing a potential employer had to gain information about me, I would have been in trouble.
If you find anything negative, you can typically get it taken down relatively quickly. You might need to remember some old log-in information, or send a few emails, but it should be simple. Once you’ve done that, you can ensure that only positive things pop up when you are Googled. Trust us, not Googling yourself can be one of your biggest mistakes in your job search!
Why Not Just Go Completely Off the Grid?
Your first thought might be, “Why not just shut down all of my social media accounts so they can’t see anything?”
Sure, if you delete your social media presence entirely then potential employers won’t have anything of yours to see. However, that is not necessarily a good thing.
If you do not have any social media presence, it means you are not networking online, which can turn off a lot of employers. Many jobs require that you send them a link to your LinkedIn profile when you apply, and not having one can get your resume tossed in the bin before you even get a chance to interview. At the minimum, you should at least have a LinkedIn profile for employers to see.
If you are looking for a job in media, you should have accounts across the board: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn. Not only do you want to show that you can network on these platforms, but also that you know how to use these platforms as that may be part of your job!
What Should I Post and Avoid Posting
When it comes to what you can post, ask yourself if what you are posting will be jarring or alienating to others before you post it. Major updates in your life, pictures from vacations and events, and check-ins at your usual hangouts are all absolutely fine. Problems typically come into play when you start posting opinions on social media that shake the proverbial hive.
None of this means that you aren’t allowed to keep posting and sharing your thoughts and feelings on social media; it just means that you should be more sensitive of other thoughts and feelings on social media before posting.
For example, you can show support to causes and candidates that mean a great deal to you, but you should avoid personally posting about most things that are political and religious. Political posts and religious posts can be problematic for employers even if they agree with your stances. Once hired, you will be a representative of their company, and they don’t want your posts to alienate clientele with opposing viewpoints.
Keeping Accounts Private
If posting your in-depth thoughts on subjects like politics or religion on social media is important to you, there is a way to still make it happen. You can make another account with no affiliation with yourself. Don’t attach your name or any of your contact information to the account, and use it to offer your opinions to your audience.
Many people have an Instagram or Twitter account that is only used for posting memes, getting political, or for promoting their side hustles. None of these things need to flood your personal profile, so keeping these separately is a great way to keep your professional image untarnished while still allowing you to have an outlet.
Posting on LinkedIn is Different From Posting Elsewhere
LinkedIn is for business and for updates in your professional life. Your vacation to Cancun, your nephew’s Bar Mitzvah and your thoughts on the newest Toy Story movie do not need to be on LinkedIn.
The main things you will be doing on your LinkedIn are making connections, keeping your page up to date, and exploring work opportunities. However, there are opportunities to post on LinkedIn. Articles related to business, professional growth or your industry can and should be shared. post the article with your own thoughts on what is being discussed. By doing so, you’re inviting others to join the discussion. Once others start to comment, their connections will begin to see your post, and your network will then continue to grow!
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