The growth of the internet has allowed us to view and share immense amounts of information about our personal lives. The things we share and post ultimately reflect the interests and characteristics of ourselves that contribute to how we're perceived online. This allows us to develop online personas that give people insight to our lives.
There are also consequences to this that I think we should all be aware of. Social media gives potential employers a surface view to the type of people we are and can directly have an influence over whether or not we get a job we're applying for. Though some might disagree, what we post and share online gets immediately tied to us as individuals, and employers recognize this.
With a simple google search of your name, a potential employer can see things about you that go beyond what you may have included in your resumé. As we get older and start to develop our professional careers, what we post and share on our facebooks or twitters can indefinitely have a positive or negative impact on how we're are perceived by other professionals in our fields.
Here are some ways that you can utilize your social media as a professional and make yourself more presentable to that future employer who might have your dream job.
1. Have a good profile picture and bio
Two components that contribute to a future employer's first impression of you on your profiles are your profile picture and bio. These are the first things they'll see when they stumble upon your page, so it's important to make them as professional, clean, and meaningful as possible.
Your profile picture should be something that presents you as the professional you are. It shouldn’t be a screenshot of a snapchat video, a grainy old photo, or something that isn’t even of you. Group shots that make you not immediately recognizable are always a no-go. Your profile picture should be up to date and be your overall best representation of yourself that doesn't raise any suspicion.
Having a strong bio is also vital. Include topics that present more about yourself that go beyond what your resumé says. Include things such as what you’re currently doing for work, what you feel is important to you, what you're passionate about, and overall provide a memorable statement that appropriately describes you.
Among other things, your bio should be short and sweet and should send an appropriate statement to the audience you're trying to target.
2. Watch what you post or share
This I feel is most important when presenting yourself as a professional on social media. Watching what you post or share makes a significant impact to how presentable your social platform is. Carefully thinking and considering what you’re posting or sharing and if it reflects badly on you is essential to maintaining a clean and professional social profile.
If you’re underage, don’t post a bunch of relatable marijuana memes or posts and pictures that might be deemed as inappropriate or offensive. This also includes hateful comments and posts that present you in a negative way. Doing these things won’t benefit you at all and might convince an employer that you aren’t fit to bring a good image to their company.
You're more than welcome to share your opinions on your page, but it’s important to be conscious of what you’re saying on social media and how you’re saying it. Also being mindful of posting or sharing things that include curse words or other offensive language. This will definitely put a damper on your potential future employers view on you as an individual.
All in all the goal is to appear as professional as you can, so be mindful of what potential employers might feel about things they view on your public profile.
3. Clean up your profile
Instead of having to create a new account for professional use, you can highly benefit from going through all your social media pages and delete comments, posts, and shares that contain subjects that may cast you in a bad light.
We all know that what we put on the internet will be there indefinitely, so when an employer finds your profile and does some digging, be sure everything they could potentially find casts you in a good light. This may be a long and painstaking process for some, but in the end, it’s entirely worth in the long run.
A few controversial or shady posts are not worth missing out on a potential job opportunity, so you should be adamant about crafting your social media pages to appear more professional when you're trying to get that job to start your life-long career path.
It's important to start these practices now so when you're an adult with a career and livelihood you won't have to worry about something on your profile hindering you from getting opportunities and reaching your full potential.