This is the third part in a multi-part series on Professionalism. If you haven't already, read Part 1 and Part 2 here.
It's pretty likely that you have at least one social media account. These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and anywhere else you can post updates, share images and tell your story.
Social media can be a great resource to help you find jobs, but inappropriate posts may hold you back from receiving a job offer. According to CareerBuilder's 2016 social media recruitment survey, 60% of hiring managers scrub through your social media to make a decision.
Make your accounts free of the following so that your social presence portrays a professional image to your current or potential employer.
- Relationship problems. It might be complicated, but the public doesn't need to know about it.
- Sexy or nude pictures. For obvious reasons, it's a good idea to keep these photos away from your social media accounts in order to protect your professionalism.
- Drugs or alcohol. Questionable activities like these do nothing to convince a potential employer that you are professional and reliable, and posting them brings your good judgment into question.
- Complaints about your job. You've probably seen stories about people being fired because they publicly ranted about their workplace. Don't be one of those people.
- Your financial situation. It's not anybody's business, and if you post about it, you might also lose bargaining power when it comes time to talk about your salary. You may also tip a potential employer off that you haven't developed professionalism online.
- Piercings, tattoos or body art. As much as these help you express yourself, it's wise to keep your social media clear of them.
- Embarrassing pictures of yourself or friends. You want to seem professional, smart and capable. A picture of you falling over at your friend's house while drinking doesn't give that impression.
- Personal conversations. You don't want to air your dirty laundry publicly. It's irresponsible, and it might also make your potential employer question your ability to handle conflict and get along with others.
- Political affiliations. As I'm sure you've experienced at some point, politics tend to be polarizing. Don't risk alienating a potential employer who doesn't believe what you believe.
- Religious views. Like politics, this is a private decision that doesn't need to be broadcasted. Protect your professionalism by keeping your religious views off social media.
- Personal information about bodily functions. If you want to look good to your employer, don't discuss your bathroom visits or monthly cycles.
- Classified information, such as your social security number. This shows a profound lack of critical thinking—and it could also get your identity stolen or worse.
- Discriminatory comments related to race, gender, religion, etc. In a professional environment, you get the opportunity to work with all types of people. Displaying any kind of discrimination will make a potential employer throw your resume right into the recycling bin.
- Overstated qualifications. This is relevant for online networking sites like LinkedIn. You never want to overstate your employment experience—the truth will come out, and it won't make you look good when it does.
And now, here are some social media Do's. In order to use social media to help you find a job and build your credibility as a professional, you should do the following things on your profile:
- Keep posts positive and upbeat.
- Post a high quality, professional headshot of yourself as your profile picture.
- Use your real name–this makes it easy for employers to find you.
- Have a simple and professional email address that you will keep for several years (and not something like firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Share links for healthcare industry related events or news.
- Join groups and pages where you can connect with employers and other professionals in your industry.
- Upload your current resume if you're on a professional networking site like LinkedIn.
Now you have guidelines for maintaining a professional appearance on social media sites. Next we'll explain one of the most important steps of all: Making sure you appear professional at work. Be on the lookout for The Professionalism Guide Part 4: Behavior at Work.