Fools’ names, like fools’ faces, are often seen in public places.”
The above quote is credited to English Historian and Author Thomas Fuller. If you’ve never heard the statement before, you’d probably think that Fuller said it last week on TMZ or The Daily Show in reaction to some social media gaff by a celebrity or politician. But, no, he didn’t. He made that statement over 350 years ago. No one is quite sure what event led Fuller to make the now-famous quote, but it’s funny how it still holds true today – in the Internet age, when a poorly-thought-out tweet, post, or pic can circle the globe at light-speed and instantly ruin the reputation of the person who didn’t think twice before releasing it to the 2.4 billion people on the planet who have access to content on the World Wide Web. Thomas Fuller was right in his early observation, and we should thank him for his contribution. But, have we learned nothing in the last 350 years?
It’s pretty easy to see where this blog topic is headed, so let’s get right into the heart of the matter and talk honestly about the Do’s and Don’ts of social media – especially when you’re looking for employment.
Some would say that the Internet and the advent of the World Wide Web was the single greatest communication tool since movable type for mass-production printing was invented. This is certainly true, but it was social media on the Web that really got us talking and sharing (and sharing waaaay too much, in some cases). So, it comes as no surprise that it was social media that led to so many embarrassing moments for those who did not know how to properly filter their pics, tweets, and posts adequately enough.
Let’s be painfully honest: a social media misstep can cost you your current job. It can also prevent you from getting a job in the future. There are only a few basic rules for social media etiquette, so let’s take a brief look at them:
- Think carefully about the online presence you’re creating. Is it something you’d like a potential employer to see?
- Watch what you say. Don’t post negative statements about your current job situation, your former employers, or the experiences you’re having while looking for work. None of this will help you find a job.
- Keep it clean. Whatever you did at Spring Break last year shouldn’t appear on your social media pages.
- Lock it down. At very least, read up on all the Privacy Settings for Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google+ to make sure you’re adequately protected from prying eyes.
- Be positive. Negative statements, harsh language, trolling, starting unpopular arguments, and generally upsetting people on social media shows that you’re clearly not employable by companies that take issue with that behavior.
- Keep an eye on the time clock. Don’t post or tweet during business hours. That’s easy enough to understand, right?
Now, don’t get us wrong. Social media can be a great networking tool when looking for employment, IF, it is used correctly. We’ve all heard the phrase, “First impressions are lasting impressions.” If you want the opportunity to make a good first impression with an employer (or anyone in the office building, for that matter), you may want to take your party pics off your social media pages and keep your language clean. Assume that all your potential employers will Google your name and view everything you’ve posted to social media. And, if every picture of you is a wild party pic, you will have made a first impression that is not in your favor.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides Contract-to-Hire, Direct Hire and Temporary placement services.