Check yourself [social media] before you wreck yourself

By Amanda Brown, TrizCom PR Intern

During my time in college, I received a lot of advice from professors, advisors and family when it came to applying for jobs. Want to know what their number one piece of advice was?

“Make sure your social media reflects you as a person, because potential employers are looking.”

Believe or not, to this day I still think that is the best piece of advice I received. Now I feel like it is my job to pass it down to others who are on the job hunt. So, here we go…

Social media is bigger than it has ever been before. People of all ages are on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. And when it comes to social media, there is honestly nowhere to hide.

About a year ago, I took a social media course at Texas Tech where we had to conduct a social media audit on ourselves. Basically, the assignment required us to go through all of our social media accounts and look at the content we were posting. Then we were to ask ourselves if what we found was professional and was an image we wanted others to see.

At first I thought this was pointless and that no one other than my friends was looking at what I was posting, but oh man, was I wrong.

Side note: Whether you are a stranger, friend or potential employer, you can tell a lot about who someone is by just ONE picture. And that can make or break you.

Companies have many valid reasons for looking into a potential employee. They want to make sure that whoever they hire, he/she reflects the company in a positive light. It’s as simple as that.

So, if you are currently looking for a job, I have some advice for you:

  1. Do a social media audit on yourself
    • Basically, go through all of your social media accounts, look at what you are posting, and if it does not reflect whom you want to be portrayed as, delete it immediately.
  2. Google your name
    • This sounds pointless, but trust me, it is beneficial. Potential employers sometimes Google applicants’ names to see what pops up. For example, if the employer was to Google my name, Amanda Brown, and an Amanda Brown who was charged with a felony a couple of days ago popped up, they might assume I was that Amanda Brown. So, with that being said, it is important before you apply or interview with a company that you know what is on the internet about you – or at least others with the same name – so you won’t be blindsided.
  3. Create professional accounts
    • I personally have two Twitters. One is my personal and the other my professional account. It is important to have a professional account of some sort where you can voice your professional thoughts and opinions about things – keeping things clean, of course. All of the interaction I have on my professional Twitter is with news outlets or professional influencers. On my personal account, I interact appropriately with friends and family that I follow.
  4. Make it a goal to only post appropriate pictures and content
    • You have no idea who can see what you post. Even if you are private, there are ways people can find your accounts and look at what you post. Trust me, I have seen it firsthand. Also, mental note … once pictures are on search engines like Google, good luck getting it taken down. So, be careful!

With all of that being said, I challenge all of you readers to take a couple minutes out of your day to look over your social media presence.

And just remember, it is important to always "check yourself [social media] before you wreck yourself."  You can never be too cautious when it comes to something like this.