NewsMarch 8, 2022
Social media is a commonplace for sharing information, both in the personal and professional worlds.
story image illustation
Designed by Emma Kratky

Social media is a commonplace for sharing information, both in the personal and professional worlds.

Not only can you share pictures of your vacation or family members, but you can also advertise yourself and your skills in a manner that could land you a job.

COVID-19 isolation has resulted in more jobs and interviews being online, and employers often will use social media as the first way to learn about you.

Many social media platforms can be used to advertise your work and professional skills, but LinkedIn and Instagram are the two popular gateways for making connections in today’s world.

Director of Career Services Dan Presson said social media allows for companies and individuals to make assumptions about you based on your profile. This means that anything you post to a public account could make or break your chances of getting that job you’re dreaming of.

“Social media is both personal and professional, and when people use it as an outlet, it can affect their opportunities,” Presson said.

Videos you post, who you follow, posts you like and even political statements can set the tone for employers and allow them to determine what value you would bring to their company.

“Social media gives you an incredible opportunity to showcase who you are and what value you can bring to an organization. If you are a designer, you can showcase your craft or follow other organizations, share pages from your favorite designers, and deepen an employer's knowledge of who you are,” Presson said.

A great way to prevent what you post and like from impacting your job search is to make certain things private. Presson advises students to set up a personal Instagram or Twitter if you are interacting with any content that has political or controversial ties. Then, create a professional account that you specifically tailor toward current or future employers.

Even though the professional account will be public, it doesn’t mean you have to give up posting pictures of you and your friends.

Boxing and confidence coach Laura Voss said to prioritize the information you want to expose to both employers and the public. As she has her own brand she has built, she is careful to maintain a professional atmosphere and yet still cherish and preach about things she admires.

“We live in a world where it kind of feels like everything about ourselves is open and, you know, on the market all the time. So, I think one of the biggest takeaways I've found is trying to figure out how to be really authentic, but also, we all deserve to have our personal lives, and we don’t have to put every detail out there,” Voss said. “Literally think of it in terms of anyone in the entire world could read this, and am I OK with that?”

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pay attention to the details of your posts.

Mass media professor and advertising professional Michael Simmons said certain phrases on posts can be a big turnoff for potential employers, even if it's an old post.

“Anything starting with ‘I got so wasted’ is probably a big red flag for companies. A key hiring aspect isn’t just technical skills, but if a person fits with an organization and their clients,” Simmons said.

On the topic of technical skills, LinkedIn is advertised as a much more suitable platform than Instagram for expressing your abilities and expertise.

On your profile, you can list where you’ve gone to school, past jobs you've worked, and personal and professional skills you have.

Creative services and program director for Sinclair Broadcasting Eric Dahl said a LinkedIn profile is almost like a virtual resume for a hiring candidate.

“I like the LinkedIn [profile] because I can acquire questions from it,” Dahl said. “I want to see the other markets they've been in, I want to see their skill sets, I want to see how long they've been at each of those jobs — all of those factors are as important as having a college degree.”

Story Tags