Cleaning Up Your Profile: The Do’s and Don’ts of Social Media

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Looking for a job in 2013? Now more than ever, employers are looking at Facebook, Twitter and other social media to get to know their applicants before calling them in for an interview. Don’t get caught with a solo cup in your hand–check out our do’s and don’ts for everything from your profile pictures to your “likes.”


Making a First Impression

DON’T…

Take a ‘MySpace pic’ from above. Or in front of your bathroom mirror. Employers don’t want to see down your shirt, and they most definitely don’t need to see your toilet. Also, steer clear of PDA photo for that profile pic, and save that one of you chugging from a bottle of Jack Daniels in a private album instead, or one that’s only accessible to your friends. That adorable picture of a cat shouldn’t be your profile photo either, unless you are, in fact, a cat. Your profile picture is the first impression employers get of you, so make sure it’s a picture of you, and one that you’re proud of…

DO…

Use a flattering picture. Sure, that one of you making a blowfish face is hilarious, but is it sending the right message? Land your dream job, and then change your profile pic to a potato, if you want. Until then, keep it serious(ish). Use a fun picture of you laughing with friends or doing something you love. Traveled abroad? Make that awesome picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower your default. Employers love to see that you’re interesting, and they love to see what makes you stand out.  LinkedIn is an exception though–make sure your photo is professional. A nice headshot in a suit and tie (for guys) and a blouse (for girls) usually works best.

Hiding the Evidence

DON’T…

Share any photos that you wouldn’t feel comfortable showing to your parents. If you wouldn’t want your mom to see you doing shots at that party, you probably don’t want an employer to see that either. Now we know that you readers never do anything illegal like drink before you’re 21, but just in case you have a friend of a friend that happens to indulge in frowned-upon activities, untag yourself from their pictures. Keep the sloppy pics in a private album, or be prepared to explain why they exist.

DO…

Share pictures that represent you as a person. Love to travel? Share all those photos you haven’t uploaded from your camera yet. Are you on the rowing team? Tag yourself in all the photos from last year’s competition. It’s also a good idea to caption meaningful photos–for example, if you haven’t to place first at that rowing meet, write something like “Can’t believe I got first place.” Be proud of all of your accomplishments and everything you’ve achieved at school. Except winning that beer pong championship. Keep that to yourself.

To Like or Not to Like

DON’T…

Like everything left and right. We’re not talking statuses–we’re talking pages. We love Trojan condoms as much as the next person, but hold off on “Liking” their page until you land that job. Also, don’t mass-like things–it’s just tacky.

DO…

“Like” things that make you stand out and represent your actual interests. Books, movies, campaigns and initiatives that are important to you are great “liking” candidates.

Statuses, Updates and Tweets, Oh My!

DON’T…

Write incriminating statuses/updates. We understand why you’d want to share that you totally blacked out last night, but you probably wouldn’t share this bit of news at work near the water cooler, right? So don’t share it online! And if you’re the type of person that keeps his or her 1,000 friends updated about what you’re having for lunch, consider cutting down.

DO…

Again, you want to keep things interesting, so update or tweet when you have something interesting to say. A funny observation, a witty remark, or a comment about a cool article you read (like this one!). Go ahead and share that with the world.

Friends & Followers

DON’T…

Accept every single friend request, or follow everyone who follows you back. Do you really talk to that girl from elementary school that you haven’t seen in a decade? Do you really want pictures of her making out with her boyfriend to somehow be associated with you? The company you keep matters, so don’t be friends with people that you don’t actually know.

DO…

Follow people you admire. This applies to Twitter mostly, but if it’s your dream to work at The New York Times, for example, follow them on Twitter, retweet them and engage in conversation. No need to be the annoying person who favorites every single statement, but an intelligent question or response to a tweet is always welcome. If you know someone in particular who works at your dream company, follow them as well and engage in a Twitterverse conversation.

It’s Complicated

DON’T…

Be “married” to your roommate’s fifteen-year-old brother. And don’t say you’re in an open relationship with your mom either. It was funny two years ago, and now it’s not.

DO…

Share your relationship status. If you’re dating someone, there’s nothing wrong with making it known. If anything, it says something about your maturity level–if it’s on Facebook, it must be serious (lol).
 

Freshman > Writing, Literature, and Publishing > Emerson


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