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5 tips to remaining professional on social media this summer

August 17, 2015
By Susan Hering

Summer is in full swing! After-work happy hours are more frequent and weekend barbeques the new norm. As you enjoy the warm weather—and all the fun activities that come along with it—it’s also important to remember that these days what happens offline often ends up online. So before you get carried away posting pictures from your rowdy summer nights, take a moment to consider these helpful tips to maintaining a professional reputation and presence on social media:

  • Remember your friends. Be mindful of who you are “friends” with on social media and think about who might see your posts. Consider these boundaries before you accept a new friend or request to connect and whether you’re comfortable with your professional life crossing into your personal life. Forbes offers some tips to help you navigate the waters of who you should connect with on social media and when.
  • Avoid inappropriate images. Take a moment to pause and think how a current or prospective employer might view your picture post and how it will reflect on you. Do you really want your supervisor seeing the aftermath of one too many margaritas by the pool? Being social and posting pictures of fun times with friends and family is completely normal, but just make sure to post tasteful and appropriate images because you never know when they might resurface in the future. According to CareerBuilder, 46 percent of employers cited provocative/inappropriate photographs as the top behavior found on social media that deterred them from hiring a candidate, followed by information about drinking or drug use (40 percent).
  • Watch your words. As a general rule, you should never use language on social media that you wouldn’t feel comfortable using in the office. A late night online rant might put you in hot water with HR or coworkers, so make sure you’re cognizant of the language you use. Vulgar or offensive language should always be avoided. It’s also a no-brainer to never bad mouth your employer, not only because it can put your current job in jeopardy, but it can also hurt your chances with a future employer. 
  • Think like the Fashion Police. (You wore what!?) Hot weather and trips to the beach often mean bathing suits and more revealing summer outfits. Make sure you are aware of what you post and whether you’re comfortable with your coworkers—or prospective employers—on social media seeing you in your summer attire.
  • Consider the future. Thinking of applying for a new job? According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 77 percent of employers now leverage social media when finding and recruiting candidates. Fifty-five percent of hiring managers seek out and review a potential candidate’s social media profiles before making a hiring decision, and a CareerBuilder study shows that 48 percent have reconsidered candidates based on what they discovered. You wouldn’t want a late night out on the town to haunt you in a job interview, so maybe think twice about documenting it on social media.

Everyone should enjoy their summer and all the fun that comes with it, but it’s important to remember how your social media posts reflect on you. So, consider these tips next time you post this summer because chances are, you’ll be seeing some of your “friends” in the office on Monday.

Tell us your tips to maintaining a professional social media presence in the comments.

To learn more about how social media could impact your career, check out these related articles:

Social media could have a big impact on your IT career in 2015

Do you know who is looking at your social media profile?

As a member of the TEKsystems’ marketing communications team, Susan Hering helps develop and write strategic marketing collateral, including brochures, case studies and presentations. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys traveling, cooking and spending time outdoors.

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