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Appropriate Social Media Etiquette for the Workplace

Is your social media account a liability to your career? Whether you’re currently seeking employment, or you’re already doing well in a role, this could all be undone with one poorly worded status or messy picture from last weekend’s bender. Maybe you called in sick on Monday, but your Facebook profile shows you out having a great time at the beach. It is for this reason that it’s important to carefully consider what you post to reflect an appropriate image to current and future employers.

Facebook

Out of all the social media giants, Facebook is perhaps the biggest culprit of foot-in-mouth situations. Whether it be a rant about a boss, calling in sick the day after a big Sunday session you broadcasted (with pictures), or simply an unprofessional post to a colleague’s wall, it will get found out. Employers want to get to know the real you, especially when considering you for a position, which means they will most likely ‘stalk’ your profile to see what you’re not saying on your resume and cover letter.

The best way to fix this? Change your Facebook name to an abbreviation, nickname, or even a middle name to make yourself hard to track down. Just remember, if you’ve used the same email address on Facebook that you’ve used on your resume, your employer will be able to find you easily with that.

Another option is to modify your privacy settings. Depending on the version of Facebook you’re currently using, you should find a little lock icon at the top left hand side of your homepage. Scroll down to an option that says ‘view as’ and this should show you how your profile would appear to those who aren’t your Facebook friend. This will also allow you to scroll through any compromising posts and tuck them away from snooping employers.

Keep in mind that certain elements of your profile, such as your display picture and cover photo will always be visible to the public, so choose wisely. If you’re forced to accept your boss’s friend request, don’t fret, you can place them on your ‘restricted’ list so they won’t be able to see anything you post.

If you’re still worried that someone from your work might see something inappropriate you’re about to post, the best option is to simply not post it. It will save you from any awkward interventions at work and as an added bonus, your grandma won’t have to put up with your constant barrage of drunken selfies.

Twitter

Twitter is another commonly used platform to engage with others, share interesting or funny stories that might have happened in your day, or discuss trending news. In regards to the workforce, the best advice is to keep your profile updated, but not too heavy. It doesn’t look good after all to have an employee who’s continually getting into Twitter feuds with Star Trek enthusiasts over who’s the superior captain out of Kirk or Picard. Instead, aim to demonstrate your interest in current industry news by retweeting engaging and relevant articles.

Instagram

Much like with Facebook, it’s better to be safe than sorry on Instagram and set your profile to private while on the hunt for work. Whether you turn this setting off once you’re hired will depend on how you think your employers will interpret the content you commonly post. Alternatively, don’t use your full name on your profile to make it more difficult for employers to find you.

Snapchat

As one of the newer and most rapidly growing social media application, Snapchat are continually updating their range of features and introducing new filters. This form of mass photo sharing typically remains unnoticed by potential, or current employers, but it has the potential to find its way into the wrong hands if you’re sharing with people in your workplace. If you’ve added your boss, or a fellow team member, then make sure you’re regulating what you post to your general story. It’s not exactly going to come across as believable if you call in sick on Monday, yet your Snapchat story throughout the weekend consisted of multiple beverages and late nights.

Even if you are regulating your own Snapchat, you often have no control of what others share on their own profiles. If someone you know takes a questionable photo of your drunken antics and shares it with their network, you never know who might be watching.

What to avoid posting on social media:

  • Any negative comments about previous or existing employers. This rule also applies to real world settings when someone might have overheard your angry rant. It’s best to keep such complaints to your close circle of friends and avoid the risk of them getting back to the wrong person. Things we say in the heat of the moment always have a habit of coming back to bite us.
  • Excessive drinking. While everyone might enjoy a drink from time to time, it’s not professional to showcase your love of doubling up on rum and cokes every Friday and Saturday night. It may give off the wrong impression and influence how you are perceived by your superiors.
  • Anything illegal. You might have been proud of that short video you made in high school hooning around roundabouts in your first car, but your employer will have other thoughts. It doesn’t matter how old the post may be, if it’s on your page, it can be found. Best to do a sweep and delete anything compromising.

 What to actively post on social media:

  • Any and all achievements. This could be as simple as getting your name mentioned in an article for winning a short story competition, praise for some previous project, or even a video of you making a speech at a public event. If you have done anything that demonstrates your initiative, confidence, and competence, then these are the things you should be sharing to really sell yourself.
  • The cute factor. Whether it be a new puppy or an adorable baby, having such photos on your profile makes you appear more trustworthy and approachable. It certainly beats a barrage of dimly lit selfies taken in front of the same bathroom wall.
  • Sharing industry news. If you’re viewed as somebody who’s switched on and invested in the industry of your profession, then this will reflect positively on you as an employee. This could include anything from relevant news articles, TED talks, or even a review on scholarly article, or book you found interesting. All of this can go a long way in demonstrating your thirst for knowledge and love of the industry.

At the end of the day, we can give you all of the quality advice in the world, but it comes down to your discretion with what you choose to put out there into the world. Everybody has their interests, their passions and their opinions and social media will always serve as convenient stage to voice these thoughts. All you can do is consider the consequences of your posts and do everything you can to represent yourself in the most attractive light to ensure you’re viewed favourably by your potential future boss.

 

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