Alright, we know you're probably rolling your eyes at the idea of Social Media Etiquette. We’ve all been warned about how social media and smartphones can ruin your reputation and make you less employable. We know we probably shouldn’t be sending naked pictures, and definitely not uploading them to the cloud. And while you’re super proud of showing up frat boys by shattering their house record for Longest Keg Stand – as a FRESHMAN – you know that potential employers may not share your pride. Today, social media boundaries go beyond common sense. Here are five things to keep in mind about your digital footprint.
- Research yourself – Your future employer is going to Google you, so beating them to the punch will help you manage quality control for those moments that you weren’t leading with self-control. Don’t forget conduct a thorough Google Image search too, as a couple of scrolls may reveal some skeletons you’d rather keep in the closet. Facebook seems to be the biggest culprit in keeping you from your dream job, so you should utilize the privacy settings provided. Not only can you review posts that you’re tagged in before they’re attached to your profile, but the settings can help you discern what’s public information, what’s just for Facebook friends, and posts that are just for you. You can even create custom lists, which means you can have your ex pine over your bikini pics, but hide them from potential employers! You can clean up your image with ease, so take advantage.
- Public vs. Private – This has been a big debate in the social media world, and there isn’t necessarily a “right” answer. It depends on the job opportunity, and the industry that you’re pursuing. So, you have to ask, is there an advantage to having my social media presence accessible. If you’re a writer, it makes sense to have social media links accessible, and to promote your content on these platforms. If you’re in finance, you probably don’t need C.E.O.’s trolling your tweets about how long the line is at Starbucks and 8 million pictures of your adorable pug. If your online personality is going add value to your candidacy, keep your profiles accessible. But, if the main concern is what type of worker you are, you can lock away those profiles without “losing out” on anything.
- Personality – In general, it’s best to control the content of your profiles. I know, I know. An employer should accept you for all of your flaws. If they don’t want you at your worst, they don’t deserve you at your best, yada yada yada. But when they ask you about yourself on an interview, you generally don’t lead with the fact that you binge watch Netflix until 3 a.m. and that if you could get paid for downing tequila shots, you wouldn’t need this job. So, it’s best to control what you’re posting. The subtweets about your ex and your #HotMess Instagram photos aren’t the impression you want to strike with. When posting, ask yourself 1) Does this detract from a professional image? 2) Is there a way this post can add value to my professional image? 3) Am I sober?
- Platforms of the Past – The social media explosion is constantly evolving, and even though it’s only truly risen over the past decade, don’t forget to close out accounts that are no longer relevant. Are you active on MySpace? Is there still a LiveJournal attached to your name holding your most adolescent thoughts? How about a sick AngelFire website? While these may not be the first links that pops up when someone searches you, it’s still best to close out these accounts if possible.
- Would You Hire You – This is a key question to ask yourself in all stages of job hunting. From building your resume, to interviewing, to an honest look at your virtual presence, it’s so important to view things from the employer’s perspective. If they’ve made it clear that they want someone who is committed, they’re not going to love pictures of you at happy hour with a 4:30 p.m. time stamp. If you said while interviewing that your greatest strength is how personable you are, posts about how you “just hate everyone today” aren’t going to dazzle them. Be your own HR department.