Social Media Professionalism

By: Lesli Sullivan

Online social networking has given us a new way to build connections for career management. It can also be a trap for self-induced embarrassment. Despite the importance of being professional online, research has shown that too few people heed the expert’s advice and it is costing them jobs.

In the digital age, the majority of employers encourage their employees to connect on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. With that encouragement, they also prepare policies on social media governance that employees should read carefully so that there is no question how those employers use and/or interpret what you post.

Here are some general do’s and don’ts that you should follow when posting to social media…


  1. Read your employer’s social media policies. If you have questions about any of the policies, ask! A good rule of thumb is to keep personal pages private and use a separate, professional page for employers.
  2. Use correct grammar. This cannot be emphasized enough. Spelling and grammatical errors don’t reflect well on you or your employer.
  3. Highlight your skills. Be open and honest about the skills that you have and those you wish to improve on.
  4. Join industry groups. This is a prime opportunity to network and stay up to date on news in your industry.


  1. Post overly opinionated content. Keep those for your personal pages that are kept private or don’t post them at all. Professionals from all industries will be turned off by extreme opinions.
  2. Post inappropriate images. This should be common sense but many people post things in the heat of the moment without thinking about the ramifications of their actions.

Considering the reach and power of the internet and how current or potential employers may utilize the information you post, using social media can reflect positively or negatively on you. Taking a moment to reflect on what you are posting could potentially save you from embarrassment.


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