Centuries ago, American frontiersmen looked out at vast expanses of unexplored land before them with a mixture of awe and trepidation. Possibilities were limitless, but uncertainty loomed. Social media is much the same: its landscape is constantly changing and possibilities both good and bad are seemingly endless, yet it has already become integral to the daily lives of billions, and especially millennials.
It’s only natural that millennials, most of whom grew up alongside the rise of social media, use it the most, and thus are the people at the greatest risk to fall victim to its pitfalls. It’s also quite unfortunate that this millennial dependence on social media has been forged at such a crucial time in many of their lives: that volatile transition into adulthood. This is a time when millennials are at their absolute best and absolute worst. The toils of working life are yet to corrupt their fragile minds – they are optimistic, spirited, and eager to make their mark on the world. Conversely, this is also a time in their lives when they are at their most idiotic.
Before the age of social media, being young and reckless was a bit of a non-issue. You do something stupid, you get grounded, you learn, and you move on. Nowadays, you do something stupid, you get grounded, you learn, but you don’t move on. Why? Because that video of you swan diving down an escalator is now on the internet. Not only is it on the internet, but millions of people have already seen it, and will continue to see it until the internet ceases to exist, which, let’s face it, won’t be until humanity is all but extinct. You are now unemployable for eternity. (Cue the Apocalypse music.)
How often have you heard of people discovering a job opportunity through their friends? Social media allows us all to stay connected with each other, no matter where we are in the world. Whereas before, so many high-school and college friendships ended when everyone dispersed far and wide to pursue their respective careers, now your friends will never be more than a few thumb taps away, and you never know what opportunities they might send your way.
Keep Your Public Profiles Modest and Professional:
Should our private lives matter to our current and future employers? Probably not, but there’s nothing stopping them from snooping around and social media has now made that easier than ever. To counteract this, it’s best to keep all of your social media profiles modest and professional. Avoid explicit language in your biography and make sure that your profile picture doesn’t depict you drinking, smoking, and, unless your potential employer is a modelling agency, wearing anything too revealing, like a skimpy swimsuit. And yes, this goes for both guys and girls.
Present Your Best Self:
This one should be relatively easy; even if we don’t like to admit it, we only present the nigh godly versions of ourselves on social media, and in the case of employability, this might actually be a good thing. Use your social media to show yourself off to any potential employers. Leave dissention on the sideline, and only present your best qualities. If you’re struggling to identify any of these qualities, consider what you enjoy doing most. What are your hobbies and interests? What charity work do you do? Any of these things could boost your favor in the eyes of a potential employer.
Keep Up to Date with Potential Employers:
Use social media to stay up-to-date with companies that you’re considering submitting a job application to. Most companies these days will have a social media presence in one way or another. Use this as an opportunity to get to know the kind of employer you’re dealing with and what the company’s core values are. Nothing will be more impressive in a job interview than displaying distinct knowledge of the ethos behind the company you’re looking to become a part of.
Don’t Trust Your Followers:
You may think you know them, but you can’t know for sure. We’re not talking about your closest friends here, but the ones on the fringes of your followers’ lists. You vaguely know them, they vaguely know you, but are they really your friends? No, absolutely not, and they mustn’t be trusted. You may think that a post on a private account will never see the light of day, but all it takes is one unassuming blabbermouth to screenshot that post and release it for the world to see, and before you know it, your boss is accosting you at your desk and asking for an explanation.
Don’t Talk About Your Work:
We all love to hate our work. “Ugh, my boss said this” and “Ugh, my boss did that.” While the love-hate relationships between bosses and their subordinates represent an intrinsic partnership that most likely holds the fabric of space and time together, there is no place for it on social media. Sure, venting to your close friends and family is only natural, but doing so on social media is a dive into shark infested waters. Not only could your current employer find out, but any future employers could be discouraged from hiring you if made aware of such previous antics.
Don’t Do Anything Stupid:
It sure isn’t the ‘80s anymore. That weekend-long binge that ended with you being woken up by a wide-eyed tourist halfway through their morning beach stroll is no longer a funny story to tell your friends, or even your grandchildren, if you make it that far; it’s now a recipe for losing your job immediately. In a world where most people have high-definition cameras in their pocket, your antics won’t be limited to the memories of those who witnessed them, but rather the memory cards of their phones. After that, it won’t take long for you to become a viral sensation, but an unemployable viral sensation nonetheless.