I don’t always post on social media, but when I do, I stay professional

If I had one thing to say to a freshman in college regarding social media it would be this.  The things you say and share at this point in your life make a difference in the opportunities that will be avaiable to you in the years to come.

Students fresh out of high school often don’t realize the weight each and every post they make can have.  In high school, posting photos of you and your friends doing crazy things was a great way to tell the world how cool you were.  Now that you’re beginning to start the last few years or your educational career, there are others watching how you present yourself, and many of these people may be future employers or coworkers.

There are two different approaches to cracking down on how your social media presence can negatively affect your career opportunities.

First, you can make your accounts private.  Many students already do have private accounts.  This is a great way to reduce the number of creepy internet trolls that interact attempt to harass your accounts.  However, it doesn’t give perspective employers the ability to get an accurate picture of who you are.  What’s more, there is no promise that making your accounts private will prevent people from seeing things you try to keep private.

The second option is the method I would recommend.  Instead of covering up unprofessional content, simple never create it in the first place.  Keeping your accounts as a reasonable level of publicity ensures that the right people are able to find what they need but those completely out of your network will have no idea you exist.  The goal is to not have any unprofessional or inappropriate content to hide.

By following this advice, hopefully you will avoid posting anything that will inadvertently reduce the chances of landing your dream job.

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