Published on March 23, 2021
Everyone on the Mizzou campus is READY for Spring Break! Whether you are going home to relax or travel staying socially distanced from others, it’s important to remember to post smart on your social media over the break. And maybe you can do a little Spring cleaning while you are at! Here are some tips about how to keep your online image positive and professional:
1. Make sure it says something positive
Your posts and images represent who you are and say a lot about your personality. Make sure those posts say something positive about you! Of course you want to remove any inappropriate content, but consider the tone and nature of what you are saying and sharing with others. If most of your tweets and Instagram images are snarky, critical rant-y or judgmental, that’s likely the negative way people will perceive you. A good rule of thumb: if you have to contemplate posting it, you probably shouldn’t.
2. Watch your language
Don’t just avoid curse words and foul language, but also pay attention to grammar and spelling. According to the Jobvite Recruiter Nation Survey, employers are most aggravated by misspelled words and typos as they wonder if the person is sloppy, poor at editing, an/or lack strong grammar and communications skills. Take advantage of spellcheck and avoid profanity which can harm your reputation in the long run.
3. Balance personal and professional
The vast majority of employers admit checking out candidates on social media so the way you behave online can play a major factor in how people judge you in the workplace. Even privacy settings are easy for businesses to get around so it’s important to keep your online content and messaging clean and positive. You can and should post personal aspects of your life, but also make sure you are posting things related to your school involvement, leadership, career interests and academic achievements. Inventory what’s on your social media profiles and make sure you have both personal and professional aspects on each account.
4. Don’t post about alcohol or drug use
You have to consider your “online brand” in this digital age. Showing a glass of wine if you are of age is not a big deal, but if you post pics of raging parties or tables littered with bottles, you are damaging your brand. And clearly that’s more harmful if you are underage. Just don’t give an employer a reason to choose another qualified candidate because of poor judgment.
5. Cut down your “Friends” list
When it comes to social media, quality matters more than quantity. In other words, it’s smart to be more selective about who you follow and are friends with. Oftentimes we are connected with people we don’t know very well and that can run some risk if that person posts inflammatory or offensive content or, worse yet, tags you and posts negative content in your feed. Carefully monitor your settings and be thoughtful about your connections.
In some cases, some students have unfriended or unfollowed literally every single person they did not know so they could start fresh and make sure their connections were positive, professional and meaningful. This can also be a good way to clear out the clutter so your network is not oversaturated with obsolete contacts and people you don’t know well.
For more advice on your online image please visit the MU Career Center website: https://career.missouri.edu/jobs-and-internships/your-online-image/