As this past presidential election can show you, what you put on social media stays on social media. Before the advent of the internet, it was much easier to say and do stupid things and get away with them because it was your word against anyone else’s. However, now that all of our online activity is monitored and curated, the insensitive, insulting, or downright damaging things that you say online, even as a joke, are cataloged for the world to see. That’s why it’s more important than ever to be cognizant of what you’re posting online. Keep an eye out for your future professionalism and clean up your appearance online with these tips for being professional on social media.
If you wouldn’t say it to your boss, don’t post it.
When employers are looking to hire new employees, now more than ever they’re consulting the person’s social media accounts for a better look into who they are as an individual. If your Twitter and Facebook are littered with complaints, offensive posts, questionable or illegal activities and profanity there’s not much hope that you’ll even get so much as a second glance. While it’s fine to post about non-professional activities like family vacations and pets, make sure that nothing you’re posting is especially controversial or offensive.
Write like you know how to write.
Internet shorthand is becoming more and more pervasive in everyday language, but there’s definitely a line to draw when it comes to implementing new linguistic features into your vernacular. Sure, “IDK” and “BTW” are more or less universally understood as meaning “I don’t know” and “By the way,” but if you start dropping letters out of every word and stop using punctuation altogether, people will stop taking what you have to write seriously. If you’re looking to have a professional career, you need to behave as such and work on your diction and grammar.
Don’t use social media as a platform to complain about work.
One of the most unprofessional things you could possibly do on social media is openly use the platform as a means to air grievances or say nasty things about your employer, either past or current. Nothing will turn an employer off to you faster than learning that you’re comfortable badmouthing your job; it shows them that you’re unprofessional, you’re attention seeking, and you are unlikely to take responsibility for your mistakes.