Social Media Beware

Social media is more popular than ever, and new platforms seem to rise up out of virtual obscurity and into popularity almost immediately. Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, YouTube, Friendster, SlideShare … it seems like there is a social media platform for everyone. But as a young adult looking to enter the workforce soon, you’d be wise to approach all social media with caution.

According to a 2009 CareerBuilder survey, 45 percent of employers use social networking sites to find out more about job candidates. What does this mean for you? Those pictures from last weekend’s party or the political rants that frequent your wall could turn up years from now and might hurt your chances of getting a job.

Here are some tips to safe social networking that you should implement now:

  • If it’s not for your grandmother’s eyes, don’t post it.
  • Change your settings so photos of you won’t post unless you first approve them.
  • Others can see your friends, followers, and who you’re following. Be selective. If someone doesn’t display your values and the values you hope to portray to others, remove them from your friends list.
  • Online content is forever, whether you “clean up” your profile or not. Anyone can grab a screen shot of something you’ve posted and use it later. You’ve seen the posts listing some of the most ridiculous status updates. Don’t be included on one of those lists.

Social media can be a great coup to your job search, if you use professional sites like LinkedIn. And when used with caution, platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and even Facebook can help. But they all should be accompanied with some pause and caution before posting anything. So be professional, and happy job hunting!

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