On-line Etiquette: How Not to Be a Social Media Liability

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Have you been tweeting, instagramming, Facebooking, or posting on some other sites with partial or complete reckless abandon? Would your photos make Miley Cyrus blush? Do you have an online political agenda that makes Rush Limbaugh seem like a sane and reasonable person? Did you star in a YouTube video featured on Tosh.0?

These might not be the greatest things for your professional image, especially if you are looking for a job. According to a 2013 SHRM survey, about 77 percent of companies use social media to recruit candidates. While there is some debate about the ethics of researching and screening candidates on social media, the fact is: if it is out there, it can be found … and used against you.

Here is what to do if you are concerned:

Step one: Google yourself from a browser or computer that does not “stay logged in” to your social media accounts.

Step two: Poke around. What can you find? Is the information appropriate? Could it damage your chances of getting a job? Seek advice from a friend or a parent if needed.

Step three: Change your privacy settings. Here is one good resources if you are technically challenged.

Step four: Repeat step one.

By: Patrick Burns, Career Coach


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