Most people today have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat; each of these are useful tools to stay in contact with friends and family, express our ideas and allow us to utilize our right of free speech. These platforms, however, can be a determining factor in if you are hired for a position in which you have applied. With social media becoming as popular as it is, more employers are beginning to look at potential employees social media pages before making their hiring decision. Though these websites do have privacy settings – they do not make everything you post “private.” Through previously serving as the Social Media Coordinator, and now the Public Relations Director, for our Chapter, I have become more aware of what should, and should not, be posted. Here are my tips on how to remain professional online:
Separate personal from professional
Your social media platforms do not only have to have work information on them. They are your own personal thoughts and ideas, and you do use them to connect with family and friends, as well as colleagues and employers. You want your social media to reflect who you are as a person, but the authentic, respectful you.
Never post bad things about employers or coworkers
This relates to present and past – no matter the circumstance, do not post any negative feedback information about work experiences. You would not want those employers to give you a negative reference to a new employer, so do not do the same. Like we learned when we were younger – if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all.
Respond to criticism with dignity and grace
Although it’s recommended that it’s inappropriate to criticize others publicly, not everyone follows this rule. If you are ever openly criticized on social media platforms, do not engross in the conflict. Address the criticism in a respectful and dignified manner, and then continue the discussion offline.
If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, it isn’t worth posting
People enjoy posting their whole lives on social media for the people in their life to enjoy. Though not every detail of your life needs to be on Twitter and Facebook. Always think, “what would my (role model) think of this?” or “What kind of attention will this get me?”
Social media is becoming an everyday tool in the world of public relations – and it is imperative that we, as young professionals, keep up with these trends. By following these steps, we can behave more professionally online, and hopefully help secure our potential dream jobs.
Natalie Gloady is a current junior at Waynesburg University, where she is majoring in Public Relations and Sports Information, while minoring in Spanish. She serves as the Public Relations Director for WUPRSSA, and is active in other campus activities. You can typically find her looking at social media, getting coffee, or on the softball field. She hopes to pursue a job in the sports industry after graduation.