Watch What You Post: Keeping Your Social Media Profiles Private and Appropriate

Dec 9, 2021

Social media has become one of the most common ways to communicate with others in the 21stcentury. 15 years ago, only 8% of Americans reported using any form of social media. Now, over 70% of Americans use social media to engage with others and consume content. While social media is a great way to stay connected with others, it could cost you a job offer if you aren’t using it carefully. Kim has experienced this during her recent job search.

Kim is a 22-year-old woman who recently graduated from college with exceptional grades and an impressive resume. She applied to multiple jobs within her field in hopes that she would have a job in no time. To her surprise, she had no interview offers for any of the positions she applied for. Kim was confused as to why she wasn’t hearing back from potential employers until her friend suggested that she take a closer look at her social media pages.

Kim is a heavy social media user, with public profiles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. At first glance, her profiles seem appropriate and professional. However, one closer look reveals spelling and grammar errors, profanity, and questionable photos that are available for anyone to see. It’s possible that hiring managers decided to decline an interview because her social media posts had a negative impact on her professional image.

This fictional situation may seem rare, but a 2017 survey reports that 70% of hiring managers use social media to screen candidates and 54% have decided not to hire someone based on their social media profiles. While there are laws in place that protect employers from discrimination against race, ethnicity, age, and other factors, employers can determine whether you would be a good fit based on what you post. Avoid getting stuck in Kim’s situation by doing two things: Keeping your social media accounts private and watching what you post.

Keeping your social media accounts private

The best way to be in control of what others see about you online is to set your social media profiles to private. When you have a private social media page, you can screen those who want to follow your account and decide to accept or deny their request. This way, only people you know or approve can view what you post and keeps most content out of reach from people you don’t know. Most social media platforms make it easy to set your profile to private in the app settings.

Watching what you post

Even if your accounts are private, sometimes information may get out to people who don’t have access to your profile. The saying “nothing online is really private” is true, and it’s also great advice on what is appropriate to post on your social media profiles regardless of if your accounts are private. Refrain from posting anything that could lead to questions of your professionalism or credibility. If you have to question whether it is appropriate or not, it’s best to keep it off your social media profiles. Here are a few topics to avoid and delete when cleaning up your social profiles:

  • Poor spelling and grammar.
  • Alcohol and drugs.
  • Negative comments about a former employer.
  • Strong political affiliations.
  • Anything you wouldn’t want your boss to see.

For tips on how social media can help your job search, read our other posts:

Put Social Media To Work Finding Your Next Job

How To Market Yourself on LinkedIn

Tweet Your Way to New Connection – and Jobs

Up Your Job Seeking Game on Facebook

Written by: Sadie Aram

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