Social Media is a clear, prevalent force in the world today.
With all these capabilities, complications and consequences are bound to occur. Yes, social media is supposed to be fun and interactive–however, it can be easy to drift off and adopt bad habits.
College students: remember, it is not out of the ordinary for future employers to ask for or look up your social media accounts!
So, let these tips guide you to a path of professionalism in social media:
1. Photos: Cats are safe
Facebook is a great platform to connect with friends and family. However, it is also a hub for inappropriate photos. These are things future employers definitely do not want to see on your profile (no further explanation needed!)
2. The “Mom Test”
Social Media is very informal, but don’t let that steer you in the wrong direction. My supervisor used to tell me not to post anything that you wouldn’t want your mom to see. You may laugh, but let’s think seriously. If you wouldn’t want to show your mom your posts, why show a potential employer?
Avoid grammatical errors. Proofread your work. If you want to be taken seriously, edit your work seriously. Spell check is not always reliable. Just because it isn’t detecting any spelling errors doesn’t mean there aren’t any grammatical errors. Be wary of misusing words like “there” and “their,” and “your” and “you’re.”
4. Be nice
Do not attack people on social media or write extremely negative posts, especially about your boss and your company. People have been fired because of posts they had on social media. Don’t believe me? Here are ten examples!
5. Be awesome at LinkedIn
Make a LinkedIn profile and actively use it. LinkedIn can connect you with people in the field you are pursuing. LinkedIn can provide you a gateway to connect and develop professional relationships with alumni from your school. Most importantly, employers love to see that you have an online presence. Include your internship experience, student leadership roles, volunteer work and a link to your blog. You can also add graphics or slideshows.
— State U of New York (@SUNY) May 28, 2014
6. Take an appropriate profile picture
Profile Pictures: For social media outlets, like LinkedIn be sure to use an appropriate picture for your profile. Employers don’t want to see a full-fledged selfie but a nicely-constructed headshot. Don’t just roll out of bed and decide you’re picture ready. Put on that blazer and comb your hair. That image could be the first impression to the employer. Make your first impression memorable for all the right reasons.
7. Watch your language
Refrain from using derogatory and profane language on your social media platforms. Employers will question whether you can communicate in a professional manner. Note that employers and companies want to be represented properly; don’t give them a reason to overlook you.
8. Use #hashtags correctly
Professionals on Instagram: Be your brand and know your brand. You should always post with a purpose. Don’t do it for the likes, post it because it is relevant. Remember to use related hashtags that will drive engagement to your photos.
9. Make your bio shine
Social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram display a little bio along with your profile. Choose what you say in your bio wisely. Your bio gives you another opportunity to show off your personality. You should definitely include links to your other social media platforms and your blog.
10. Internet is forever
Once something is out on the Internet, it is there forever. Yes, you may press “delete” when you realize you post something you shouldn’t have, but it doesn’t change the fact that it is out there. You are unaware of how many people saw your questionable post before you removed it–or worse, took a screenshot of it. Therefore, always think before you post.
Do you have any to add? Leave them below!
This post was authored by University at Albany social media intern Samantha Dobies.
Located in New York’s capital city, the University at Albany offers its more than 17,000 students the expansive opportunities of a major research university and an environment designed to foster success.