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In 2018, Business Insider reported that a whopping 70% of employers used social media to screen job applicants. By visiting candidates’ Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram profiles, among others, hiring managers took note of the language and attitudes used when posting in a public forum. If you haven’t cleaned up your social media act, it’s time to start. Here are some ways to be professional on social media. 

Privacy Settings

Be aware of what the privacy settings on your account are, who can see your content and what types of settings you can have. Some social media platforms give your the opportunity to make specific pieces of content that you post private, while others have broader privacy settings. There are also settings that allow you to prevent certain people from looking at your content. Make sure that you know all about security settings before you post content because if you post anything that is controversial, you may hurt your career. Even if you have a private account, remember that what you post on the internet will stay around forever, even if you delete it.

Do Not Post Controversial Photos

When you post images on social media, do not post anything that could be taken the wrong way. For example, do not post provocative pictures of yourself. It is also not a good idea to post pictures of yourself that relate to drug use, alcohol use, adult relations and breaking the law. Even hinting at these activities in a joking manner can be inappropriate. After all, will everyone understand that you were just messing around? Be sure not to include illicit paraphernalia, even red plastic cups, in your pictures—especially if you are not the legal drinking age!

Do Not Participate in Controversy

Many of us have very strong beliefs that we would like to shout out to the world from a mountaintop. However, if you are trying to maintain a professional presence via social media, you should be respectful of others and avoid making broad, offensive generalizations. This is because what seems perfectly normal and correct to you may be radical and terrible in someone else’s mind. At the same time, be mindful of what viewpoints and affiliations are considered to be especially controversial. There are specific viewpoints that you should really stay away from if you want to maintain a professional presence on social media. Instead, focus your posts on family, friends, and industries of interest. 

Be Polite Or Don’t Say Anything At All

When you speak to people on social media, do not act rude or mean. Speak politely and if you don’t have anything polite or meaningful to say, then don’t say anything at all. Do not attack anyone over the internet. You have the choice to press the “send” button and post content to the internet. Take a moment to read over what you’ve written and ask yourself, “Is this going to hurt someone’s feelings or damage my reputation?” Another way to maintain a professional presence on social media is to refrain from making negative. Such comments can come back to bite you if an employer finds them. There are people who have been fired from jobs just because they made negative comments about their bosses and coworkers through the internet. Stay safe and sane online, and you’ll find plenty of success in your professional life!