By Kendra Williams
Today almost everybody has at least one type of social media account. Venues such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest have given us a way to share a piece of ourselves with the world. We can rant about how much we hate our bosses, rave about the latest fashion trend, post pictures of how hard we partied over the weekend, and not have to worry about a thing, right? Wrong! More and more employers are using social media to hire, and even fire, employees.
If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who are currently looking for a job or who want to keep your current job, here are five social media precautions you should take.
1. Keep Your Profiles Private– This may seem like a no-brainer, but some people still haven’t caught on to the fact that all someone has to do is search your name online to find out all types of information about you. They can find your current address, the college you attended, and your birth date. This is all fine when it comes to employers searching for you because they already have this information. What you should be worried about is the information they don’t have. Internet searches can also pull up several of your social media accounts. If you have shared posts or pictures that you want specifically for your friends and family, then change your settings to reflect that. You don’t want Employer X learning everything about your personal life before or even after you’re hired.
2. Register a Personal and a Professional Account– Not too long ago some employers started requesting passwords to Facebook accounts from potential and current employees. This act is now banned in California and Illinois, but that is just two states. Also, it only bans the act of them asking for the password, not hunting your social media accounts down and getting information that way. An easy fix is to have one account that you use for whatever personal reasons you may have and a second account in which your posts are more of a professional nature. If asked for password access or even just to view your account in your presence, you can share your professional account information. I definitely do not agree with the practice of asking for passwords (because 20 years ago employers didn’t ask to view your family photo album or personal diary), but this will help you be prepared in such a case.
3. Don’t Post Anything You Wouldn’t Want Your Grandma to See– I can just hear all of the “ughs” and “aaawws” right now. Yes, I know it may seem as if this will muffle your very strong, very opinionated, very colorful voice. Yes, I know you want to show off those hot new pair of shoes you are rocking with the cutest pair of boyfriend jeans while at a frat party. Yes, I know this may be hard to do, but this will be one of the smartest things to do. Don’t post anything your grandma won’t approve of. Employers do like hiring cool, young, talented individuals. They also like hiring individuals who act in a professional manner. Not posting anything of an offensive or obscene nature now will save you the time of having to delete it all later.
4. Moderate Comments and Tags– We all have at least one friend who will write comments or post pictures of the weirdest things on our page without second thought. We’ll be tagged in pictures that have nothing to do with us and comments about inside jokes, that some may take out of context, on our pages without us ever knowing. That’s why all comments and tags should be moderated before they even appear on your account. You can choose what you want to appear on your page and prospective employers won’t have to wonder why you have a picture of a kitten jumping out of an airplane wearing a parachute and bathing suit on your page.
5. Use Professional Social Media Accounts Properly– Websites like LinkedIn are tailored toward a professional audience. Do not use your account to talk about your weekend adventures. Do use your account to share professional articles or events. Connect with other professionals in your target market and send personal invitations to individuals, not one mass invite. This shows that you are taking your job hunt/career seriously and not just looking to build a large online connections list.
Kendra has a bachelor’s of business administration in marketing, a master’s of business administration, and is currently working on her certification in health and wellness. If you can’t find her enjoying time with her husband and son, then you can find her flipping through the most current fitness magazines or trolling the internet for new writing ideas. Kendra is the owner and blogger of Kreative Creationz that focuses on beauty, cooking, crafts, and everyday living. Kendra also loves to give career, friendship, health, and entrepreneurial advice to anyone who asks.