Like It or Not, Your Social Media Matters Professionally

If someone told 17-year-old me I should stop tweeting my feelings, cut down on cat videos, and end my constant desire to reblog angsty and sad lyrics, well, she would’ve laughed. Then, cue several prolonged and rather uncomfortable moments where she’d try to redirect the conversation because no one in high school seems to think about who may be reading their shouts into the void. Whether you’re bold enough to stay off private, or only have followers you personally know, we all use our social media to promote any thoughts we have. It’s certainly rare for individuals to put professional thought into what they post, especially before they begin job searching. But, should they?

There are already enough “rules” to successful social media before thinking of what to do regarding the workforce. They’re not written down in an Internet Bible, but upon reaching out to fellow social media users, I could tell they were things people feel we know. For instance, many of my peers agreed that there’s a certain timing when it comes to Instagram posts. Instagram’s prime time seems to be during the traditional dinner time for most, due to many beginning to wind down and get out their phones for their late night scrolling hours. Similarly, the time for Facebook posts is at the opposite end of the day when pre-lunchtime scrollers begin to grow tired of work and go in search of something to read that isn’t related to productivity.

While some people may think it sounds silly, others consider this serious business.

Social media has become a key part of the face we put out into the world. Online we can be bolder, say more, and care less about the backlash. We put a lot of effort into making ourselves seem funny, yet serious enough to comment on political issues. But not too serious, because we still want people to like our posts and, therefore, us. It’s a tightrope walk even the Greatest Showman’s Anne Wheeler (played by the ever talented Zendaya) couldn’t master. So, what does this mean for those of us who never thought our online profiles would be anything more than just that? Or how about the ones who aren’t even thinking about the workforce yet?

It seems our Twitters, Instagrams, and Snapchats should almost start to become staple pieces on our professional resumes. Which can be a great thing, especially if you know how to use these platforms to promote yourself and showcase your talents. Though no one can truly master the algorithm of successful social media, we can at least create online presences that show us in our best, and wittiest, lights.

But, what about those of us who want our social media to be just that, social? Can’t I just tweet my feelings about life and post rants about those days where I can’t even make my coffee right, without worrying a potential employer may see these things and worry I’m off my rocker? And if that’s not the case, when was I supposed to start prepping? Everyone always tells us to be careful about what we post, but did anyone ever actually believe it would be the make or break on our futures?

Employers know it’s the online presence we choose to give off that can give many clues into who we really are. You can’t get a personality or how often we quote New Girl from a resume or cover letter. But, how can we know if future employers will like what they see? And when we do start working to ensure they do? Should high school seniors start thinking of witty bios that are eye-catching and draw people to believe their likable and a team player, or can they keep that Post Malone lyric until junior year of college?

I recently underwent a social media cleanse. I frantically went back years on my profiles to delete anything that could be taken the wrong way, like those pesky subtweets about a classmate or the weird time in my life where all I would retweet was inspirational astrology (my horoscope must have been spooky accurate that week). I was lucky enough to recently stumble upon an article by AdWeek, written by Sherry Gray, which gives some fantastic tips about polishing your image, defining your unique value proposition, and keeping your social media well sculpted (2017, July 24). To be honest, it all sounds like quite a lot of work. And how do I know potential employers haven’t already found me and crossed me off? Or maybe no one’s looking at my social media and I’m freaking out over nothing?

There’s no real guide for successful social media, whether it be personally or professionally. However, just like we all have our own beliefs on how to get the most likes or retweets, I think it’s safe to say we have all begun gathering different tips and tricks to what is employer-friendly and what isn’t.

So what do you think? Should we start grooming our profiles for potential internships and job matches early, so there’s nothing to later regret, or is the line for a professional profile not as strict as people (like me) worry it may be?

Featured Image via Pexels

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