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How to Maintain an Employable Social Media - What to Post and What Not To

Jul 05 , 2022

Social media icons.

Most people are active on social media and never consider that what they post might have an impact on their employability. Here is what you need to know about keeping your social media pages above board and making sure your career doesn't suffer.

**The following guidelines apply to both private and public profiles. Employers have ways of getting access to posts meant to be private. With privacy guidelines on platforms changing every day, you never know when your private information will become public.

Avoid Complaining About Work

Most experts agree the biggest mistake people make on social media is complaining about their boss or job. Besides your current employer seeing your post and becoming offended, complaints like this can make a potential employer shy away, as they won't want to deal with complaints if they hire you. 

However, if an employee posts positive things about their supervisor or employer, it sends the message you are a loyal employee and team player. That doesn't mean you should post positive things about work just in case someone's looking, but if you have genuinely positive things to say, it's a good idea.

Avoid Discussing Customers

While you're not complaining, it's not a good idea to discuss customers. Customers are the lifeblood of most companies. They can be irritating, but employers don't want to see complaints about customers. It's a bad look for everyone: your company, your sales department, and you. 

Use Correct Grammar

There are many professionals that don't use proper grammar and spelling, but if you're trying to make a good impression, it's better to use your best grammar on social media. If you aren't sure of the difference between they're, their, and there, get the free Grammarly extension for your browser to gain quick and easy suggestions and corrections so you'll look like a pro. 

Watch Your Humor

If you like to post things that have edgy humor, you may offend someone. Unless you're looking for a political job, you should probably stay away from political jokes or rants. Most hiring teams tolerate some level of offense or disagreement, but if that's the only difference between you and another candidate, you just might lose an opportunity.

Don't Swear

If you want an employer to view you favorably, lay off the potty mouth. Some people won't be bothered by foul language, but others may see it as unprofessional or insulting. No matter the perspective of the employer or hiring team, however, you're better off restraining yourself from using four-letter words. 

Smiling woman holding a frame.

Don't Overshare

Oversharing is an umbrella term that covers several things that may present problems for employers looking to hire. They include: 

  • Sharing too many details about your love life (arguments, sexual references, and anything else you wouldn't dream of telling your 10 year old)
  • Boasting about your wild night on the town
  • Legal matters like a brush with the law or your neighbor suing you over an easement
  • Photo dumps containing hundreds of photos of your vacations, pets, or kids (select photos are fine)

Oversharing is a practice that's considered unprofessional. It's hard to see someone in a work context when you know too many intimate details about their lives.

The Bottom Line

All these examples of dos and don'ts on social media can be summed up through a few bits of advice. Communication blog Zandax offers the following guidelines:

1. Don't post personal, sensitive, or compromising material on social media. Use private email and messaging channels instead.

2. Always remember that while social media is a convenient way to talk to friends, your posts can be seen by employers as well.

3. Your behavior on social media can damage your career. Maintain a baseline of professionalism at all times.

What Should You Post?

The G-rated version of your life and interests can be posted including your family, hobbies, a few modest photos, certain vacations, and anything that testifies to your work ethic. You can also post encouragement and support to others, friendly overtures, and a few pictures of yummy meals (but not every day). 

Why You Shouldn't Just Delete Social Media

Some have reacted to the restrictions on their social posts by deleting their social media altogether. This is not the best idea because having no social media can be just as much a red flag as having inappropriate social media. 

Employers generally believe social media is part of life today and that employees benefit by learning to navigate it. When your social media presence is non-existent, it can make prospective employers wonder if you are so backward that you can't navigate social media, or that you have something to hide. Neither one is good when trying to get a job.

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