In the beginning of the Oscar award winning film “Gladiator,” Maximus, played by Russell Crowe, gives his soldiers a rousing pre-battle speech and says this amazing line, “What we do in life echoes through eternity.” As goes for gladiators, goes for social media. Your online presence lasts pretty much forever.
Employers may look at your social media profiles when deciding whether to hire you; it’s not an unreasonable assumption. And even if you deleted everything on every one of your online profiles ten years ago, it’s could still be just one advanced Google search away. Sorry to say, but there truly is no escape from your digital past.
As of July 2019, here are the Top 10 Social Media Platforms worldwide according to Statista.com:
4. Facebook Messenger
8. Q Zone
9. Douyin / Tik Tok
You need to be aware of how you’re presented on each site. Here are seven tips to help you manage your Social Media presence so that you can become – and remain – gainfully employed.
1. Even though Social Media is still the age of a teenager, there is already an old axiom that applies: Don’t put anything on Social Media that you wouldn’t want your Mom to see.
2. Social Media means never having to say goodbye. As long as the Internet is live, so is the picture of you chugging rum from a pineapple while wearing a bunny suit. Might have been fun times, but not so much fun great when a hiring manger finds it, much less notices that you posted it at 6 a.m. when you closed down the bar. Today. On Tuesday.
3. Be conscious of where and how you present your political point of view online. We live in an emotionally charged and divisive political climate and you cannot control the snap judgments others will make about a seemingly innocuous post or comment. On business-oriented social media, such as LinkedIn, it might be advisable to steer clear of political topics.
4. Likewise, it’s generally advisable to keep personal matters on socially oriented platforms (i.e., Facebook) rather than professional platforms (i.e., LinkedIn). And while we’re on the topic – it’s not a bad idea to check your Facebook/Instagram/etc. privacy settings so that only your friends and family have access to your photos and conversations.
5. Many social media platforms (LinkedIn included) have “comment” sections, which are a breeding ground for internet trolls and flame wars. Comments are just as public as official posts, so if you’re active on platforms or forums with comment sections, you may want to consider any potential professional ramifications before you tell @area51conspiracy he or she is the “world’s biggest moron,” and that you hope they, “die in a hail of bullets.” That “moron” could be in a position to make a hiring decision on your candidacy.
6. Be conscious of your tone, too. Social media is just that – social. You may have written posts or comments to family or friends that had an intentionally snarky tone deliberately chosen for effect. While you and your friends who share a collective sense of humor may find your repartee hilarious, others might be turned off or offended. It’s not fair, but people observe how you interact with others and form a perception of you based on that, right or wrong, fair or not. If someone believes you are condescending online, they might believe you will be condescending to them in the workplace.
7. This list has been filled with negativity (sorry), but here’s a good one. Make sure to explore the job portals on the various social media platforms! Naturally, LinkedIn has a robust job postings section, but companies are starting to wake up to the idea that the social social media platforms are where all the people are hanging out! As time progresses, you’ll continue to see more and more companies building job portals Facebook and other sites to reach key users. Don’t miss out!
Philip Roufail contributed to this article.
Scott Singer is the President and Founder of Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching, a firm dedicated to guiding job seekers and companies through the job search and hiring process. Insider Career Strategies provides resume writing, LinkedIn profile development, career coaching services, and outplacement services, including a free resume review. You can email Scott Singer at email@example.com, or via the website, www.insidercareerstrategies.com.