By Sheena Williams

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, bloggers are all social media sites. Let me reiterate, they are social media sites. If you break those three words down, it means a site that uses media for you to be social. You can share pictures, thoughts, songs, and videos to let others know what you’re doing with and in your life. It can let you keep up with literally hundreds of people with a click of a button. If you have family in Aruba, you just have to log on to see if that hurricane missed them. Have a daughter in the army? Well, your Facebook can bring you that much closer to seeing her.

With all of the convenience of social media, it isn’t any wonder that many companies have now jumped on the bandwagon! Not only do they do this to advertise their product or service, but to conduct hiring practices. Think about all of the information that is on your resume can now be on LinkedIn. Employers can screen you, get your email address or telephone number, and hire you within a matter of minutes!
Unfortunately, however, with the good, comes the bad. You’re a conservative? Guess what? Your future boss may be a liberal. Don’t like chicken soup? Well, the office administrator in charge of hiring may love it and thinks that anyone who doesn’t like it is un-American! With these kinds of pitfalls, someone could easily fall through, so, it’s easy to just say “Forget social media altogether.” However, more and more jobs are requiring a Facebook account or some such application. People are losing out on jobs because the employers cannot connect with them. You didn’t hear about that job on 4th Street? That’s because the company released the information on Twitter instead of spending the money for that pricey ad in the newspaper. In an effort to keep you from ignoring the job networking power house that is Social Media, we are going to give you some rules of thumb to follow when working with and posting on the World Wide Web!

Are you ready?

Create yourself a separate account or page for work purposes. Yes, I know, you already have a Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter page. But do yourself a very large favor and create another one with your work e-mail address that you can keep completely separate from your personal social media page. This not only allows you to get your face and resume out there, but it also allows you to post freely on your personal page without having your boss seeing you do the Captain Morgan pose in front of their building. As funny as it may be, the picture has a time stamp on it and now you and your boss know that your picture was not taken during your lunch break.

Learn the Terminology

Your boss asks why you don’t post anything on your Twitter. What? You have a Twitter and you were supposed to post? What is a post? Okay, so you’re creating the requested post. It tells you that you put in too many characters. What are characters? It’s little things like these that you will need to look into that will make your time on any social media site easier before you even log on. A little research will let you know that a post is the content that you put on your social media page. You’ll find out that characters are the words, letters, numbers, and spaces that fill up a post. Being savvy about the things that you are about to undertake before you get on with it, will make your day a lot easier.
Securities Securities are what you allow others to see when they come to your page. You don’t mind letting John Doe check out your daily posts, but Jane Smith seems a bit suspicious. With many social media sites, you have the power to block, hide, allow, un allow, and show only who or what you wish to share. Maybe you took some before and after pictures of your weight loss journey, but you don’t want others to see your progress before your high school reunion. Set the picture folder to private and only your friends and family can see it. Going to the hospital to have a very personal surgery? Make sure that your securities reflect those who you want to see it. We always recommend that if it is something private like the previous example that you don’t put it up on your media site. Call those you need to know that information so that it will stay private.

Know What To Post

In life, you will find that not everyone will agree. In fact, in much of life, you will find that not everyone will agree. You have every right to post your opinion on any given topic that you see fit. However, by putting it on a social media site, you are giving everyone you have allowed access to your page to view and talk about it and come back with a rebuttal. If you are hoping to have a future employer hire you based on your information, then, you will have to keep the information you post to a minimum. Nothing negative, political, religious, racist or generally too opinionated should go onto your page. You want employers to base their decision to hire you based on your work, not how you feel about the Red Sox losing that big game.

Be Choosy About Who You Allow On Your Page

You love your Aunt Gertrude. You want nothing but good things and happy days for your Aunt Gertrude. However, Auntie G has a bad habit of telling really embarrassing baby stories about you on your page. Your best friend, Buddy, has a nasty habit of criticizing you on your page. Your social media page is not the place for him or Aunt G to be doing any of that. Maybe it’s not even a case of you doing anything. Maybe Jessica likes to take provocative pictures of herself next to a car. It may be innocent, but if she tags you on the pictures, they will show up on your page, and it’s not something your employer needs to see. Don’t ignore any of these people, by any means. If you followed the above directions and have two separate pages, then, put them on the personal page and move on… except for that friend who criticizes you, having toxic people in your life isn’t good, no matter how funny he is, posting those pictures of those crazy kittens.

Do Not Post Your Personal Business

I cannot stress enough that it is potentially dangerous for you to put seriously personal things on your page. No one needs to know that your husband cheated on you. No one needs to know that you were chatting up some hottie on websites with questionable names. For the love of all that is heavenly, do not fight with your significant other on Facebook. As stated earlier, you are posting to a social media site. Yes, it is your business what you post there, but by posting it there, you open yourself up to criticism, complaints and judgment from all who can see your post, including your future boss. Your words can be used against you in a court of law, and there have been custody battles won on things posted on social media sites, don’t think I’m kidding. Think of social media as an interactive diary. You post your personal thoughts, but instead of the thoughts just being kept, the pages respond back to you.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Social Media. It’s meant as entertainment and can be an excellent tool for finding work. It allows you to network and meet new people whom you wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Just practice caution and some good common sense and you will be fine! △