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Social Media for the Young Professional: Avoiding Celebrities’ Mistakes


When it comes to making smart choices on social media, I think it is safe to say the phrase “WWJBD?” (What Would Justin Bieber Do) has never been said. Most recently, the teenage heartthrob took to Instagram to exacerbate an already incredibly negative situation. Shortly after an altercation with Orlando Bloom in a Spanish nightclub that was allegedly over Bloom’s ex-wife Miranda Kerr, Bieber posted a photo of the Victoria’s Secret supermodel on Instagram. Although Bieber quickly deleted the photo (most likely at the direction of his publicist), he later posted a photo of Bloom crying on the red carpet, which only added insult to injury. 

Despite how immature Bieber’s revenge tactic was, it brings up the ever-relevant subject of social media etiquette. As a young professional in the 21st century, I understand the importance of social media in day-to-day life. It has become standard procedure for employers to Google job applicants during their hiring process to vet their social media pages. Many of my peers have advised me to change my name or set high privacy settings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more when applying for jobs. Though these are two viable options, I believe when social media is used in the right way it can be an instrumental resource for employers to get to know you better.

According to James Franco’s piece in the New York Times, the “selfie” is what makes a great Instagram. However, Franco’s recent half-nude selfies do less to impress and more to disturb. Instead of taking after Bieber and Franco, a young professional in search of a job should use Instagram to exhibit his/her hobbies and interests. Are you a foodie fanatic? Snap a pic of a dish you’ve made! Do you enjoy hiking? Share the view of a mountain you’ve climbed! Instagram can be used as a tool for employers to connect with you beyond your resume; it is a reminder that you are a real person. 

In the Twitter world, celebrities like Kim Kardashian use the platform to publicly respond to personal drama. Who can forget Amanda Bynes’ extremely alarming Twitter meltdown last summer? Even on a personal Twitter account, you should always ask yourself, “Is there someone I would not want to see this?” A Twitter feed of a young professional could be a mix between interesting articles and thoughts that represent who you are. Keep your Twitter free of any inappropriate material and hashtags and you will be all set to apply to jobs once the time comes and also demonstrate how social media savvy you are.

Last but not least, Facebook is still key in presenting yourself as a smart young professional. I know it’s less cool now that your mom has it (and maybe your grandma, too), but Facebook is always a platform for starting discussions, sharing photos and maintaining connections. In addition, changing your settings so you can approve all photos and wall posts before they are posted is never a bad idea. 

Applying for jobs can be a nerve-racking experience, but having a strong presence on social media can be a great way to express yourself and hopefully impress future employers. Instead of disappearing into internet oblivion, use social media to your advantage. And when in doubt, think “WWJBD?” – then do the opposite.  

— Erin Richards, Team Lisa Intern

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