It’s 2016, and we are all online all the time. We FaceTime our significant others instead of actually talking to them, we gChat our work friends, Facebook message funny links to our college friends, and email our grandparents. We update our Snap story more times in a day than we can count, and we have learned how to filter an image perfectly, as well as boil down our thoughts to 140 characters or less. We cultivate so many different versions of ourselves online that we sometimes forget that the majority of it is visible to everyone- and this includes potential employers.
Each different social media platform that we use has its own purpose, and we use each one to show off one or more aspects of our personality. Twitter is to display how witty and clever we are, while Instagram shows a more artsy side. Facebook tells us how socially engaged we are, SnapChat’s geofilters show where we go and who we are with at all times, and the only social media that seems to resemble a resume is LinkedIn. While we cultivate our LinkedIns to look professional and qualified, we should focus on the other sites as well, realizing that your image on social media is the sum of all its parts, not an average.
One thing that should be standard across all your social media sites when considering the professional view is appropriateness. There are two types.
- Appropriateness of Language:
- If you wouldn’t say something at work, where your employer could hear you, you probably shouldn’t post about it on social media. The way you present yourself verbally says a lot about the kind of person you are. The words you choose, as well as what you choose to talk about shows your priorities, and how you want to be seen. Make sure that this is a positive thing.This means language- if you wouldn’t swear in front of your boss, don’t swear on social media. If you wouldn’t speak ill about people in front of your boss, don’t do it on social media.
- Appropriateness of Content:
- This applies to both pictures and posts. Things you’re seen in pictures doing should be appropriate to discuss at the workplace with an employer. That doesn’t mean they have to be boring, that you can’t go out and have a good time, or even that you can’t take pictures of everything you do. The line is drawn when you post something, and the image you put online becomes public. It’s not your lifestyle anymore, it’s the way you’re choosing to portray yourself for the world. And that person should be employable.
Some Basic Do’s and Don’t’s for Appropriateness:
- Do post pictures of you and your friends: Hiking, Traveling, Volunteering, Out to dinner, doing something of cultural significance, playing sports, etc
- Don’t post pictures of you and your friends: At a strip club, drinking, smoking, being immodest, getting arrested, flipping off the camera, etc (These are just examples, and the lists of things that are acceptable to post and not to post follow general common sense rules. Another way to censor yourself appropriately is imagining if your grandma was on the site, although for some of you this actually is a terrifying reality.)
Another thing to keep in mind is the amount that you post. While posting all the time can be annoying, (as well as show that social media is something you could potentially waste time on at work) not posting at all can also be detrimental to your hireability! Social media, if used properly, can function as a great tool to show how fun you are, how interested you are in different types of things, how you spend your free time, and other great aspects of your personality.
More ways to show off your personality on each social media platform include:
- Facebook: RSVPing to cultural events in your city, Getting involved with local organizations and groups, Showing all your travel pictures in ONE album- including silly selfies and scenic shots
- Instagram: Limiting to one post a day, preferably not a selfie, Avoid liking inappropriate accounts, or even have a private instagram
- Snapchat: Not having the world’s longest story every day, or Using geo-filters to show where you are
- Twitter: Limiting multi-post tweets, No (excessive) subtweeting, Favoriting funny, but appropriate things that celebrities say, Retweeting interesting facts about your area of expertise, or Retweeting your workplace and fellow employees
So don’t waste your social media presence on poking your friends and tagging them in memes- use it to get hired