5 Social Media Tips to Protect Your Future

Submitted by Kimberly Shattuck, CISR, CPIA, CPIW, DAE, CLP

Whether you are applying to business school or a job, it’s time to review your online presence. We all need to clean up any embarrassing albums, outburst, and demonstrate our level of professional online engagement. Poor judgment online can affect you keeping your job. Social media continues to blur the lines between our personal and professional lives and your activities online say a lot about your identity. Your online footprint should be generally consistent with how you see your personal brand.

So here are five tips to consider before clicking “submit” for your MBA application or applying for a job:

1) Do a Personal Online Audit 
Scour the internet with your name, starting with a Google, Yahoo, and Bing search. If there are any mentions of you on the first few pages then it’s time to remove them or clean up.

2) If in Doubt, Delete 
Review your history of posts, comments, and old photos on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs. Any posts of a sexual nature, drug reference, profanity will not go over well.

3) LinkedIn Profile
Have an appropriate professional photo, join professional groups, and don’t have a basic threadbare profile. Make sure your profile is up-to-date with experience, skills and knowledge. Your LinkedIn page should be professional, informative and active; so use it!

4) Start Cultivating a More Professional Side
To advance your personal brand post intelligent and interactive comments. Engage with your target audience by following and liking their Facebook pages, and re-tweeting their twitter feeds and blogs.

5) Privacy Settings
Social media updates are often spontaneous, unfiltered statements and communicate how you feel at a particular moment in time. However, when left as a permanent record and publicly available, remember that they become part of your personal branding. So if you are in the habit of making such spontaneous updates, it is recommended that you change your settings so that they are not available to someone outside of your immediate network. Think before you post to social media.

At the end of the day don’t become paranoid, just err on the side of caution. Everything you put on a social media site should be an accurate reflection of who you are and how you want to communicate your personal brand to the outside world. Don’t let yourself be judged by your past when you are working so hard to build your future!

Kimberly Shattuck, CISR, CPIA, CPIW, DAE, CLP

Former IAIP Region III Vice President

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