How much is too much? Isn’t that a question we often ask ourselves? Both personally and professionally, we are constantly placed in situations where we are left to make a decision on where to draw the line. Sometimes the decision made brings only minimal impact to our lives, whereas other times the impact can be significant. Maybe it’s time for dessert and you’re debating on that second scoop of ice cream. Maybe you’ve got a new guy in the office and you’re determining just how far to take it when you badger him with questions and initiate him into the group. These are fairly low-key examples of crossing the line.
Perhaps, however, you have recently been tempted by that old college friend to indulge in a little social media rant or post a few subtle yet telling photos from last weekend’s reunion. Your friends and family members know your personality, so anything like this that is posted on your social media accounts will come as no surprise. Maybe you’re just the jokester who always has the last word or awkwardly escalates the situation to the next level just for sport. However, this opportunity to respond to a situation via social media presents a whole different level of possibility for overstepping the boundaries and affecting your reputation, especially on the professional front.
Whatever particular circumstance is currently in your path, now is the time to stop and rethink this question of reputation as you publicly display the details of your life. When you are writing about a current hot topic, how much is too much when it comes to vomiting your opinion and addressing the opinions of others? How far is too far when you post photos of yourself engaging in various behaviors? How bold is too bold when sharing unfiltered pieces of your day?
These are not questions that should be asked with your friends in mind but with the potential hiring manager for every job you chase after, because the management team at every company will watch your every move on social media when it comes to considering you as a possible job candidate. When you post something, it is not only for a few others to see but is being shared with the world, and many of us have a tendency to overshare when it comes to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Venting to our phone or computer screen is a lot easier than having a real conversation with someone. Processing our experiences through the social media platform has become more commonplace than processing by way of a diary or a long walk with lots to think about.
We often just jump on the first account that our thumb scrolls toward, throw out a few words that first come to mind, and hit the publish button. There. Done. Now the world knows what you think or what you did or who you currently hate. And, just as easily as you posted a few quick pics and thoughts, a hiring manager will judge your potential as their employee in a similar speedy fashion. And who wants to be shut down for consideration in such an expedited manner? Who wants to spend weeks and months searching for a job they love only to miss out on that opportunity because of a tongue lashing projected last week via Twitter?
The solution is simple. Clean up your social media accounts and proceed with caution, bearing in mind that everything that you display will be viewed and weighed by your future boss. Your resume is still a very necessary and powerful tool for gaining consideration and interest for potential companies that want to hire you, but your social media presence is powerful, as well. You could pour your time and money into developing a strong brand for yourself only to have it washed away or made irrelevant by keeping a tacky and unprofessional profile. So, start today by making wiser choices when it comes to what you say and do on social media because the future of your career depends on it!