Professionalism and the use of social media

We are living in a time where everyone and their mother (literally), are on social media. And how could we not? Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc. are all exciting ways to interact with people and to gain all the likes and followers we desire.

Most of you are in your college years and it’s certainly a fun time. How else can you show all your friends from high school how great your life is in college without posting a picture to Instagram? While college is filled with a lot of fun times, it is important to realize how important these four years are and how anything you post now can have a negative effect on you in the future. Employers do their research on social media to see if you are really the professional individual you said you were in your interview.

My message here is simple, think before you post. 60% of employers use social media to look into their current employees. Of those 60%, 41% found content on their employees social media that has caused them to reprimand the employee or even fire them. ( “Social Media Etiquette & Ethics: A Guide for Personal, Professional, & Brand Use.”)

I am lucky enough to be taking a course here at Smeal where you have a presentation from recruiters every week that give insight and developmental tips to budding business students. One of the topics we had was the use of social media and your personal brand. Recruiters understand that you are in college and this is a fun time in your life. They been through it, they know exactly what you’re doing. The presenter said, as long as your account is private, then there is not a problem. But if you have a public account and there is a video of you doing a keg stand in a frat basement, you might want to reconsider. No employer is going to be impressed, and no matter what GPA you have or how professional you were in your interview, what you post on social media reflects your personal brand.

The moral of my post is to be responsible. You do not want to miss a great opportunity with a company because you were holding a alcoholic beverage in your hand (there are in fact laws when you are drinking claws) or because your comments are distasteful. The main reasons that employers are turned away from candidates are given in Keith Quesenberry’s article on social media etiquette and ethics. He states that “inappropriate photographs, videos, drinking/using drugs, discriminatory comments, bad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employee, and poor communication skills” , are all valid reasons why someone would not be considered or fired from their position.

Overall be smart, and really think about what you post. You do not want to be haunted in the future by past mistakes.



By Mollie Scarpino
Mollie Scarpino Mollie Scarpino