Whether you like it or not, social media has become an integral part of our society and how we communicate. There are many great benefits that it can bring; we have the ability to keep in touch with family and friends across the world, we can share our triumphs and celebrations with the simple touch of a button, and we can expose ourselves to many different people and cultures without ever leaving our house. Unfortunately, social media can also bring about some negative consequences if used improperly, especially in the workplace. To help you out, we put together a short list of some dos and don’ts of social media.
Do: Show Your Passions
Are you super involved in a volunteer organization or social cause? Show it off! Many companies like to see candidates that have translated their passion into action, so make sure to feature that on your social media accounts. This “do” does come with a caveat, however. If your passion is at all controversial, especially if you’ve been involved with any political or social issues, make sure you do some research on the companies you are applying to first. Many companies have very progressive views, but some may not, or may prefer that you keep your political views to yourself.
Don’t: Post Pictures From Last Friday Night
While social media can be great for sharing photos of you and your friends, use your best judgment. By all means, show yourself having fun, but avoid photos that show you in a negative light. Stephanie, a hiring expert from AT&T, offers this advice: “I like to use the news test: would I be badly represented if this was the front page story on the news? If that would be bad for me, why is it splashed all over my social media?”1
Do: Engage With Companies
Social media doesn’t have to be limited to friends and family members. If there is a company you’d love to work for someday, engage with them! Stephanie recommends, “Start by connecting with local businesses on their social channels and engage with them by expressing your interest in obtaining a career with the respective organization. Make sure to follow businesses on their social channels so that you see jobs they may post.”2 Before you do this, make sure you have a professional profile picture and that all your information is updated.
Don’t: Speak Negatively About Coworkers or Employers
As tempting as it may be to blow off steam about a bad day at work, never do it on your social media accounts. The last thing you want is for a hiring manager to see that and decide you wouldn’t work well on a team. Steve, a hiring expert from Caterpillar says, “If a recruiter or hiring manager does check out your personal social media sites, they are typically scanning for anything that would speak to your character, like inappropriate behavior or posting negative things about previous employers and co-workers. As long as your social media profile does not contradict the way you present yourself to a potential employer, you should have no worries.”3 If you’re having a disagreement with someone you work with, text a close friend or family member to vent instead of broadcasting it to the world.
Do: Develop Your Personal Brand
Social media is a great tool to showcase who you really are and convey things that don’t come across on a resume. If you love photography, share some of your favorite shots on Instagram! If you love writing, share your thoughts on Twitter or start a blog! The possibilities are endless, and by putting some thought and effort into these accounts, you can really show the world (and potential employers!) who you are.