There has often been great debate about social networking and whether or not it is helpful or harmful to one’s career and personal life. However, I believe social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be a healthy and productive way to promote yourself if you follow a few simple rules.

  1. Don’t post inappropriate pictures of yourself. There is nothing wrong with posting a snapshot of you and your friends out for the evening. However, posting pictures where you show way too much skin or are seen taking shots out of your best friend’s cleavage are never going to get you anywhere positive. Do be creative. Get your friends and family together for picture day. Find unique poses and places to take pictures.
  2. Don’t make your profile private. This is probably going to hit some nerves. Some people believe that if future employers are going to start looking at their Facebook page, then they will just make it private and solve that problem. However, making your page private also leads people to ask the question “what are they hiding?” Instead, keep your status updates and the comments people post on your page private, while keeping your about me, work, and school sections completely available. When writing about yourself only include those things you would have no problem having your grandma read. Try to use proper grammar and avoid expletives that make you sound uneducated.
  3. Don’t just accept just anyone as a “friend.” Make sure to only allow people you truly trust access to your Facebook profile. If there is a co-worker who has been known to back stab other’s, this is probably not someone you should be trusting to have access to your page. Also, if your friends are posting things or pictures of you that are questionable, either let them know you don’t want those posted, or block them from your profile so you do not appear closely associated.

If you follow these three rules, you should feel no shame knowing that a potential employer is looking at your social networking profile. Face it, we are entering a new world where nothing that is put on the Internet is safe. So always use caution when posting things on your profile. It can be the most meaningless and forgettable comment or picture that can keep you from achieving a career or even personal goal.