Social media can be a lot of fun, and of course, is a very useful tool for staying connected and making a presence for yourself. However, as we’ve seen in the news time and time again, social media can easily cause your professional or academic downfall. Here are some tips for keeping your social media career-friendly while still having fun and expressing yourself.
Adjust Your Privacy Settings
Many social media platforms allow us to choose who can see our posts and profiles. For example, you can set your Instagram profile to private so that only people whose follow requests you specifically accept can see what you have uploaded. You can also do this with Twitter and Facebook. This is a great way to compartmentalize your work life and your personal life. It’s an easy way to politely let your coworkers or college admissions officers know that your social media is for your friends and family.
Think Before You Post
With social media, everything is moving faster. It can be tempting to post something as soon as possible. However, we can’t always make good judgements in the heat of the moment. It’s good practice to wait at least an hour in order to make a more sensible decision. If you are questioning whether your post is okay to publish, wait a few hours and see what you think then. When we remove ourselves from the situation, we can gain a new perspective and see how our post may be more inflammatory than we had originally thought.
Things to Avoid
- Foul language: If you wouldn’t say it in your Common App essay or in a professional setting, you probably shouldn’t say it on social media. That’s to say that social media is very public. Potential employers and college admissions officers can often see what you post with a quick Google search. Even if you’re on private, things can spread through screenshots easily. The use of foul language looks unprofessional and distasteful not only on your behalf but also on behalf of your organization. Before posting, remember that you are not only representing yourself, but you are also representing your school or company.
- Aggression: It might be tempting to use social media as a place to complain or let out your frustrations, but this can make you seem overly negative and difficult to work with. College admissions officers especially want to see that you can look at the positives in bad situations and think of creative solutions. It’s important to balance criticisms with positivity on your profiles. If you feel you need to make a negative or angry statement, remember to calmly and rationally back it up with facts and never make personal attacks.
- Partying: Many times, social media is one of the first impressions employers, or anyone gets of us. We know it’s tempting to show the internet how much fun you have on the weekends, but the image of a party animal is not the first impression college admissions officers are looking for. Instead, keep the photos from your nights out between you and your friends. This way, you can still remember the great times you’ve had while keeping a professional social media presence.
- Bad spelling or grammar: This one seems like a no brainer. However, many of us forget to spell check before we post. If you check grammar and spelling in your school papers and college essays, you also need to double check what you write online. If you don’t express yourself clearly and with correct spelling online, potential employers may decide that your communication skills are not up to par with what they are looking for.
In all, you should always remember that you want to put your best foot forward on social media. Even if you are set to private, anything can spread past your network on the internet. At the end of the day, if you remember to think before you post, you can keep your image professional while still having fun. And of course, follow First Workings for all the latest news and #FirstWorkingsTips!