By: Gracie Covarrubias, DePaul University organizational and multicultural communication major ’18 and Career Center communications assistant

It’s almost impossible to resist posting updates of our lives on social media but every post has its risks. Employers have become more social media savvy; currently 85% of employers indicate that they’re less likely to hire employees if their social media feeds are unprofessional or conflict with company standards. In a world of social media rules and fads, knowing what you can and can’t post gets tricky. Check out these social media best practices and start thinking about your social media habits!

Keep your profiles private

It’s tempting to stay public, especially if you’re looking to gather a larger following or become an influencer, but it’s always a good idea to keep your accounts private. One simple Google search of your name can reveal a world of information both good and bad. If you’re looking for some tips on privacy settings we’ve got you covered. Take time every few months to make sure only the best version of yourself comes up on a Google search.

Even if your profile is private, be mindful of the public groups you’re part of

Regardless of your privacy settings, public Facebook groups can still bring unwanted attention your way. Earlier this year, a group of newly admitted students to Harvard had their admission letters rescinded after offensive memes from a group they formed were leaked. We all know how this goes– you see a funny meme, tag a friend and move on with your day. The problem with this is that these tags show up on everyone’s feed and one screenshot of a meme can quickly be taken out of context and land you in hot waters. It’s best to simply send private messages to your friends instead of publicly tagging them for the world to see.

Be careful with social media trends

The rise of the “finsta” aka a fake instagram account, began as a way for teenagers to evade parents and for college students to escape their fears of employers monitoring their feeds. In theory, the concept is great. You post the most raw, unadulterated version of yourself on a private Instagram and only a select group of your friends can see it. However, one screenshot goes a long way. It’s important to remember that nothing is truly private. Most professionals will advise that you delete the finsta and move on. There’s a huge risk associated with it and it isn’t worth getting fired over.

Be aware of employer social media policies

It wasn’t too long ago that a woman who posted a photo of herself expressing her political views on Facebook and Twitter went viral and was subsequently fired for the post. Her company cited their social media policy and stated that the post went against company values. Student organizations may have similar policies and are often treated as extensions of the university. This isn’t an isolated incident. In fact, it’s not uncommon for students to have offer letters rescinded if a Google search turns up as less than favorable. Your employer reserves the right to fire you if your social media posts go against what they’ve deemed admissible. If you are going to have public profiles, we strongly suggest that you stay up to date on your company’s social media policy.

Navigating the social media world is a challenge in and of itself. As professionals it’s difficult to balance your professional brand with your personal life. For more advice on cleaning up your feed and important social media tips, check out our HireDePaul blog.