Social media is absolutely everywhere these days. From high school kids looking for internships to CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, everybody under the sun is using it.
People in the entertainment or news business, whether they work behind the camera or microphone or out in front, are among the most-followed on the internet. That means that everything they post on social media gets scrutinized. Even if you’re not there yet, what you do, say and post on your social accounts could help or hurt your career.
Keep reading to learn more about responsible social media use and how doing the wrong thing on sites like Facebook and Twitter could keep you from landing the right job.
Are You Professional?
Potential employers look at social sites before hiring. Not all of them do, but a vast majority will do a cursory search to get some idea of what you’re like.
That’s why coming across as a smart, intelligent and professional person is important. Do you have spelling mistakes and goofy slang all over your profile? Do 50% of your pictures feature you drinking alcohol?
Present a professional image to potential employers and social media can work to your advantage instead of working against you.
Don’t Say That!
Controversial opinions are fine to have, but turning your online profile into a soapbox isn’t wise when you’re seeking a job. Aside from a potential employer disagreeing with your politics, they might see you as a risk or somebody who is more focused on what’s going on around them than their job.
No employer wants to hire somebody who will stir up trouble and lacks focus.
A Picture Speaks 1,000 Words
Social media sites almost always feature a place where you can post photos. Whether you’re a rabid iPhone photographer or not, the pictures you post will play a big role in how people see you and your overall online presence.
First and foremost, posting a professional avatar or home page picture is essential. It doesn’t have to be perfectly lit, and you don’t have to be wearing what you would wear to work. A shot of your smiling face is a whole lot better than that candid photo of you drinking a beer in your swimsuit though.
Any other pictures you post on social media should also be a positive representation of you. A picture of you dressed up and ready to go to a fancy dinner is fine – 100 selfies of you shirtless or scantily clad is not.
Limit what pictures others can post of you by receiving notifications and requiring approval before you’re tagged in them.
Should You Go Private?
Most social media sites allow for private accounts where little information can be viewed by anyone that isn’t a friend or follower. That means you have to approve requests from employers or co-workers before they can see the majority of your profile.
This can be a good idea for some sites like Facebook, but having a social media profile employers can view will work in your favor if it paints a positive picture of you. Instead of going completely private, keep some sites like Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn open for anyone to view.
Visit our media schools to learn more about how a career in front of the camera or behind the microphone could be an ideal choice for you. Media schools and journalism schools can’t keep you from making mistakes on social sites, but they can help you learn the skills you need to work in the field of your dreams.