Social Media and Your Professional Life

What to do with your social media during a job search.

Everyone uses at least one social media site; most people have accounts on multiple platforms. Each has their own positives and negatives, but there are some general rules to keep your professional life separate from your personal life.

Employers will almost invariably search your name during the interview process and will likely find one or all of your various social media accounts.

Keep in mind some large organizations also have NDAs, Code of Conduct, and Defamation clauses in their employment contracts. If you are politically active, have posted things about your personal life (pictures out with friends or inside your home, health information, etc.) or are just a high volume meme poster, accounts should be either disabled or set to the most private setting possible. Sites like Instagram and Facebook can be locked down fairly easy, while sites like Twitter are, by design, very public. So, at minimum, consider disabling Twitter and amping up your privacy settings on the others during a job search. Depending on where you land, you may do well to keep those tightened privacy settings in place.

Social media for your professional life (like LinkedIn, Opportunity, etc.) is another matter, and should actually be focused upon. They give you a chance to show your interest and breadth of knowledge in your industry. They are also great resources for networking and finding your next job lead. That said, use these sites wisely. Keep your presence professional at all times – That means no funny pics, ‘you won’t believe’ type articles, online quizzes, etc. There are other outlets suited for your favorite cat memes. Share articles about professional topics, join industry-specific groups, participate in conversations about issues important to your field.

Just remember: Once something is publicly online, it’s out there forever. Regardless of the platform, choose your privacy settings (as well as what you post) wisely!