Catch Me If You Can

Social Media 

I am on social media all day. Should I worry my posts may be seen by a potential employer?

Students often wonder if a foolish, offensive or accidental post on social media could be considered for a job interview or future promotion. The short answer is yes, it can.

Over 40% of college students check Facebook over six times daily. With more than half of that activity in the evening and night, the likelihood of potentially embarrassing posts is high.

Fortunately, some lawmakers are taking action. Some states have enacted social media policy and privacy laws to protect employees and job candidates. These laws prevent companies from requesting passwords to personal social network accounts as a requirement of employment.

While you're protected in some states, remember it's still legal to require access to your accounts in many other states. Even if your state has social media privacy protections, an easy search by a potential employer will turn up anything posted publicly, warns Roaring Pajamas, social media and reputation management experts.

Students should take six important steps to ensure social media profiles are clean and will not affect future career options:

1. Review your digital footprint and immediately remove anything that could be problematic.

2. Change your privacy settings to thwart a future employer from seeing your social media posts.

3. Disallow tagging by others and remove any public tagged photos of you.

4. Exercise extreme caution when posting, commenting on posts and liking posts. A post or image that might seem funny at the time can easily be misunderstood out of context.

5. Think about whom you are friending and following, and why. Even if your privacy settings allow only friends and followers to see your posts, someone may share your posts outside your network. Images can be downloaded or screenshots may be taken and then shared without your knowledge.

6. Consider any potential questions about your social media activity, especially anything considered inappropriate in an employment setting.

Social media is part of life, just make sure to use it wisely. Like mom always said, do not post online anything you would not want your grandmother to see.

(Jacob Maslow is the founder and editor of Legal Scoops).

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