Social media is fun, but where do we draw the line?

By this point, it’s pretty much common knowledge that employers will Google your name and peruse your social media before bringing you in for an interview. With the knowledge that anything they post can (and likely will) be seen by employers, most students have at least a general idea of what to include and not include in their public profiles.

The truth is, posting on social media can be fun whether you’re posting selfies, memes, videos, but you need to ensure that employers won’t find anything that could risk your chances of getting hired. Here’s how you can maintain professionalism on social media (and still have fun!).

Option 1: Keep it simple and follow the “Do’s and Don’ts” for social media

Do: tasteful headshots, promote your portfolio/work and celebrate your accomplishments

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Posting professional images and portfolios on your public social media accounts is a great opportunity to display yourself to employers.

This works best on the platform “Linkedin” as you can connect with a variety of professionals in your industry of choice. By posting your professional work on this space, employers can see your skills as an eligible candidate.

Don’t: use excessive vulgar language or post about partying

Character in "The Office" dancing.

We get it, it’s normal to let loose and have fun at parties, but posting about it doesn’t always look great to future employers or bosses. Although these posts may not be necessarily “bad” it still doesn’t give off a professional impression.

A survey went out for companies that used social media screening on job applicants and 73 percent of the time employers will not give applicants time “to explain questionable information.”

Option 2: Have the best of both worlds (while taking in privacy measures)

Create separate personal + professional profiles

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A good way to separate your work life from your personal life is to create different accounts.

For example, if Instagram is your social media app of choice you can have a public page for professional images/anything you would be okay with your employers seeing. Then, you can create a private “finsta.”

Finsta which comes from the words “fake Instagram” is a type used where people create a private Instagram page for only close friends to follow. This way you can post what you want to the people that you trust.

Block people in your professional circle from stories

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You can still be friends with someone on a social media platform, but block them from seeing everything you post.

For Snapchat and Instagram, you can select users that you want to hide your story from. It’s not mean, we doubt that your boss wants to see all of the memes you repost anyways.

Whatever option you pick, make sure you’re true to yourself.

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It can seem that taking all of these measures to look “perfect” in a professional sense can be overwhelming.

Try your best to stay professional in the public eye, but remember, you can’t always please everyone. There can be some grey areas around the word “professionalism” as this term is often coded by the white/straight/cisgender/able-bodied/middle-to-upper-class/thin population. If you are called unprofessional for something you can’t change, then it’s a problem with them, not you.

You shouldn’t have to hide from your workplace. Here’s how to tell that a company’s workplace is for you.

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