Last week while I was home, my dad asked me about some of my recent retweets on Twitter. I had been retweeting countless videos, quotes and pictures that I thought were hilarious. However, my dad did not agree. He reminded me of the importance of having clean social media, especially as I begin to apply or jobs. He also reminded me that, while I may find things funny, not everyone shares my sense of humor. This discussion with my dad led me to research the best practices for professionalizing my digital footprint.
The first thing I learned was that my dad was right! According to a 2017 study by CareerBuilder, 70 percent of employers snoop around potential employees’ social media sites before even meeting them. This is a significant 10 percent increase from the study results in 2016. Now more than ever, it is crucial to have a clean, professional social media presence. Continue reading to learn a few do’s and don’ts of professionalizing your social media presence.
DON’T Wipe Out Your Social Media Presence
When searching for a job, learning that employers will be looking at your social media can be unnerving. Your first reaction might be to delete that Twitter account you only use to share memes. Stop! Business News Daily warns that, unless the profile could majorly hurt you, deleting your social media accounts can backfire as 60 percent of hiring managers are less likely to call someone in for an interview if they can’t find them online. Rather than deleting those profiles, clean them up and put your best digital foot forward for future employers to see.
DO Unfollow, Unfriend and Filter Through Your Connections
Everyone has those random Facebook friends that they added in middle school. You know, the ones who share super weird videos making you question if you even know them? When trying to professionalize your social media, removing these irrelevant connections is a good way to stay organized. Hootsuite recommends getting rid of the connections that aren’t adding any value to your goals, whether they are professional or personal. This also goes along with organizations you may follow. Everyone has their own point of view, so don’t risk offending someone just because you follow an account that they might not find as funny as you do.
DON’T Post Inappropriate Content
While this may seem like common sense, it’s one of the most important don’ts of professionalizing your social media. Think before you post. Would you be embarrassed if your grandparents saw your post? If yes, then it’s probably best not to post. It’s also important to monitor the posts your friends are tagging you in. Facebook and Instagram allow you to review and approve photos and posts before they show up on your profile. You also have the option to un-tag yourself and request the photo be removed from the site. To learn which specific types of posts to filter from your profiles, check out this article from CareerCast titled “7 Social Media Mistakes That Could Damage Your Career.”
DO Use Social Media to Show Off Your Skills
Contrary to what you might think, employers aren’t cyber-stalking you to find reasons not to hire you. Most employers are looking for reasons they should hire you. According to a survey by CareerBuilder, 61 percent of employers observe social media to look for information that supports a candidate’s qualifications for the job, while only 24 percent of those surveyed check social media to search for reasons not to hire someone. This means you should put your best foot forward. You should have professional posts that show off your skills in the field you wish to pursue. Share personal work samples, blog posts and graphics. Also share interesting content related to the field such as articles. Use social media to your advantage, as another tool to make yourself desirable to future employers.
Social media is forever, so always be conscious of the digital footprint you are leaving behind. For more do’s and don’ts of professionalizing your social media presence check out Hootsuite’s blog post, “13 Ways to Improve Your Social Media Profiles in One Hour or Less.”