Complete Guide To Social Media Overhaul After College.

Can social media hurt your career?

The short answer is yes.

In a 2018 a study by Career Guide revealed that 73% of employers use social media to screen job applications and up to 43% of employers use social media to check up on current employees.

Many employers include social media as a category when they do background checks on new employees.

So we know that potential employers are going through the social media accounts of applicants for certain job positions. What exactly will get you in trouble?

Potential employers are not looking to see how much you party or how much you drink or if you are a good citizen unless it directly impacts your job performance or their brand.

The things that you must make sure you do not have on your social media account are any form of abusive content, adult content, illegal content or documentation of your illegal activities, offensive content, negative opinions about about the employer, lies on your resume for job applicants and any other thing that directly affect your performance and their brand.

The reason why you should do a social media overhaul is brand yourself as mature and reliable.

Your social media is ultimately about your own personal life but it is best to take down the blurry half drunk selfies, inflammatory or controversial posts.

You do not need to go crazy and start an entirely new online persona, but you do need to start giving off more mature, stable and reliable vibes.

You can do whatever you want with your social media.

You can still have photos of you and your friends having fun and keep speaking your mind even on politics.

However, do so in a respectful and thought-out manner. 

In certain circumstances it is not even about what you post on your social media but just who you are as a person.

Determine to evolve and rise above misguided things you used to believe and thought it was okay to say to the world (or your ten followers). 

Do not just take down racists posts, stop being a racist.

Do not just remove photos of you and your buddies doing illegal things, put your misdemeanor days behind you.

How can social media help your career?

Social media can help your career in two distinct ways.

First by giving you an opportunity to brand yourself.

When your potential employer is screening candidates on social media, even before she meets you, she can be introduced to a witty, thoughtful, kind person.

It is an opportunity to stand out without putting in much effort. All you have to do is avoid posting or retweeting the kind of things we have already mentioned.

Secondly, platforms such as LinkedIn offer an opportunity to network.

I am no LinkedIn expert, but I can speak from my experience as a freelance writer with Facebook groups.

If you do it well, social media will give you an opportunity to speak to people in your industry that you would never have met out in the real world.

For artists and people in creative type Industries, social media can get your foot in the door.

Photographers use Instagram, I hear that writers use Twitter and so on.

You do not need to have a lot of followers, you just need to have great content. 

Are there jobs that prohibit or control your social media use?

Definitely.

Jobs where the employee’s personal brand is closely associated with or even assumed to be the brand of the company.

The employer may give you restrictions as to what you can and cannot put up on social media.

I feel like most of these rules are often implied or unspoken rather than express.

Other jobs limit your social media use because of the sensitivity of the work you are doing.

They require a certain level of privacy like police work and other information sensitive work.

In those instances, you will be told very directly.

Let me finish by giving you five steps to a sane and effective social media overhaul:

1. Deactivate or delete inactive accounts.

Check for public accounts you have opened and may have forgotten about by Googling yourself.

You can always keep some of them but just switch them to private so that you do not have to go purging through them as well.

Do not worry so much about your childhood social media accounts unless you used to spew out abusive or offensive garbage.

We forgive you but the internet needs less of that.

2. Delete all the abusive, offensive, illegal etc content we have already talked about.

Start with the past two years of all your accounts and work your way downwards.

Remove recent posts that portray you like you need some time to grow up.

3 . Update your bios.

 If you are going to share information, at least make it accurate.

Update your status to graduate, where you are currently working, your current hobbies, where you currently reside etc. Update or delete.

Do not worry, you do not need to keep updating your social media accounts.

Once they look grown up, you can leave them alone.

4. If you can, get on and get active on the platform where most people in your industry frequent.

For writers (except for me it seems) that can be Twitter, for almost every other profession it is LinkedIn, and so on.

Do not feel any pressure to be on social media for anything other than social purposes.

Personally, neither LinkedIn nor Twitter have done me any favors either as a lawyer or as a writer.

However, I still do the bare minimum, professional looking profiles and grown up sounding bios.

Follow people in your industry. Follow the little fish as well as the big fish.

Follow accounts that give updates about your industry. 

5. Stop over using it. 

You will look very idle if your posts are three minutes apart.

Many people have lost their jobs because of spending time on social media during work hours.

Do not go down that path.

Social media can either build or destroy your career.

Use it carefully.

Do not bank on social media to advance your career but treat it with caution knowing that it can destroy it in one swoop.

Care, mindfulness and maturity will enable you to avoid the social media ax.


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