There was a time, in fact, just about a decade ago, life was all about Google. You needed a recipe, you googled it, you needed to find the meaning of a word, you googled it. Now, while Google does continue its dominance in the background, it is social media which has taken the front seat and is almost ruling all information exchange online.

Not only has social media become the lifeline for youngsters and middle-aged alike, but it has also opened up quite a lot of new opportunities. Businesses take help of Social Media to reach masses and also advertise new products to ‘only’ relevant people. Moreover, new jobs these days are advertised more on the Social Media than on job portals (refer LinkedIn).

The problem, however, is that there is too much social media happening. The generation Y’s social media skills are touching the roof. Right from posting every food picture, selfie on Instagram to tweeting about every political issue, the Gen Y does live for attention. So, where businesses were mostly concerned with only advertising products and services online, today they are also taking note of a potential or a current employee’s social media channels and scrutinizing their posts.

A recent trend is to deeply scrutinize a potential recruit’s social media profiles to study her behaviour, personality and the ability to react to a situation. While most of the things you post may seem harmless as far as social media is concerned, some posts may come to haunt you back later.

Check out a few things (in no particular order) you should take care of when managing your Social Media account, be it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, so that your professional image is not hampered:

One. You complain about work/job stress too much: All of us hate our jobs, it is the universal truth. Even if it isn’t shared ten times on your Facebook timeline or your Instagram feed, it still will be understood by people. We understand that there are times when you want to sulk about work and run down the streets shouting out loud as to how much you hate your job or how irritated you were when your boss decided to cancel your leave. However, it is advisable to keep it to yourself and not share it online a little too much. Your potential employer or even your present one is not going to be too pleased with that gesture of yours.

Two. You’re too active on Social Media/you have too many selfies: While it is your right to be active on social media forums, it does not mean posting hundred selfies a day or 50 motivational quotes. No one wants to know so much about your life. If you’ve gone out to eat, we don’t need to see twenty angles of the food item you’ve just eaten. Same goes for your pictures, check-in’s, how much you love you mom, etc., etc. You always need to know where to put a stop. Not only does it bode ill with your connections, your new employer – who is checking you out on these channels, may get a feeling that you are a little too distracted on the Social platforms and will probably waste too much time postings stuff, rather than working.

Three. You are less active/inactive on Social Media: This goes for people who are applying for jobs which require people interaction, for e.g. sales, marketing, customer support, digital media jobs, etc. If your social media presence is dormant, you may risk that new job call. After-all your new job requires you to be actively engaged on some of these channels and be aware of what is happening all around. It would be a shame if your potential employer opens your Twitter or your Instagram account and see a post which is like at least a year ago. Keep posting regularly to keep your social media game upward. If you are applying for a social media job or a job that requires you to have adequate social media skills, you might just get rejected for being too closed or not as involved as required.

Four. No drugs online: Your love for booze, marijuana or any other drug may be understandable to your friends, but your current or potential employer won’t quite get it. While a picture of a few beers or drinks once in a while is a good sign, posting pictures with a bottle of alcohol isn’t a healthy social media sign. As far as the green drug is concerned, it is better to keep it off social media, you do not have to let your employers know about all your poisons. Sometimes, closed doors are the best bet.

Five. Post Clean stuff: While all of us love sharing a little profanity online, it is always advisable to keep yourself clean that way. However cool the F-word may sound, these cuss words and public cursing should be kept to yourself. Your potential or present employer may not like the kind of language you use on social media sites and it may even cost you your job.

Six. Plagiarism: If you click a picture, post it, if you post someone else’s stuff, give them credit while posting it on social media. Same goes for quotes, if you copy a motivational/philosophical quote from somewhere, giving credit to the person, does make complete sense. Giving credit to people when you post stuff is a good thing after all. If you do copy and paste stuff on your social channels, your employer may end up thinking that you can even plagiarize stuff at work.

Seven. Text/SMS Language: While texting language may have become quite a fashionable thing, grammar Nazis hate it and so do people who do not use the language. If you ask me personally, writing an “ok” is much better than posting an ‘okie dokie’ or a ‘k’. There is a reason that the English language was invented right? It is best if you make full use of it. Employers with jobs that require proper use of the English language will appreciate if your social channels show that you are in command of the language. After-all you may be communicating with overseas clients tomorrow and any slack may cost the company dollars!

Eight. Don’t be too Private: While social media privacy does make complete sense, there are accounts that do not need to be private after all. Take Twitter for instance, you tweet stuff to express your opinion, and it is for the world to see. The tweets in some way describe the kind of person you are and it helps the employer to see as to how well can you handle situations or how aggressive you are. If you happen to be a good photographer, keeping your Instagram account public may make let your employer know that you have added skills as well. Meanwhile, as far as Facebook is concerned, you could keep a few things public while most of it could only be visible to your friends.  If you think you have an interesting social media profile, go ahead, let the world see it.

A healthy social media account can always put you in good light with your new employer; it shows you can communicate on varied topics and are aware of what is happening around. Moreover, it shows you carry an opinion on important issues and are not afraid to get on in a discussion / debate when required.

If you take care of some of these points, you will ensure that your professional career is not affected because of the social media accounts you happen to have. Additionally, you can leverage Social Media to show a positive side of you which may get you a +1 from the employers scouting your profile some-day.

So go ahead, make social media a weapon to help you grab your dream job. 

This post first appeared on the Blog

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