In today’s day and age, it seems like virtually everyone is using social media in some form or another. Each month, approximately 328 million people tweet, 700 million people use Instagram, and 2 billion people use Facebook, and each day 158 million people are using Snapchat; this means that the ability to connect with nearly half the global population is available at the click of a button at any time. While the Web 2.0 and the internet in general have given us remarkable ability to convene and share ideas, it also means that anything that you may post can circulate at light speed, whether or not you’d like it to, and not just to family and friends. An average of 70% of employers are now looking up potential job candidates on social media prior to making hiring decisions, and if what they find is deemed inappropriate or unprofessional, it could hurt your chances at finding employment.
Although it’s unrealistic to expect people to stay off social media altogether, there are some best practices you can implement to help ensure that your online presence is best reflective of you as a professional.
Keep photos appropriate
Social media is fine to use for personal use; if you want to post vacation photos or pictures of your pets, go right ahead. However, be cognizant of what you’re sharing and how it will appear to people online. Posting photos from college parties rife with red solo cups and underage drinkers is exactly the type of thing you should avoid. If you’re unsure of whether or not it’s appropriate, just ask yourself if it’s a photo you would want a potential employer to see, and use that answer.
Keep career complaints to yourself
Sometimes you need to vent and air out frustrations in life. However, if you’re continually taking to social media to complain about your current occupation and slander the company you work for, don’t expect employers to be jumping at the gun to hire you; after all, who’s to say that you won’t turn around and bad-mouth them once you start working there? Don’t present yourself as someone who’s petty, and be mindful of what you’re saying online.
Watch your spelling and grammar
With the advent of the internet and direct messaging platforms, shorthands acronyms and phrases have become prevalent in our online communications. Using terms like “lol” and “btw” aren’t going to make or break an employer’s decision to hire you, but if you’re constantly misspelling words and misusing grammar rules, you’re going to paint the picture that you simply don’t know how to use them correctly. Be aware of how you write online and look for little ways to improve your writing.