What Job-Hunting Grads Need To Adjust About Their Social Media Habits


Recently, I made the hearty decision to go private on Facebook, in addition to restricting myself to posting little more than witty one-liners on Twitter.

As I'm applying for jobs, I've realized that vocalizing my opinions on the Internet may soon hinder my chances at receiving my position of interest, as opposed to other, more subdued applicants.

For the first time in my life, I feel discouraged from assuming the political and social stances I was once believed to have conviction in.

As unhealthy as this might be, I'm torn between finding a job I would enjoy and posting an article on Facebook about obliterating gender norms.

We're a generation chockfull of individuals who maintain the belief that we can, as clichéd as it might seem, change the world. We want our voices to be heard and we want our words to resonate with those whom we're connected online.

But, is our free speech being constrained by the conscious prospect of appealing to employers? Is self-expression really worth the pesky side effects of criticism or a sudden breach in your employment candidacy?

I would say it depends on how devoted you are to your ideas.

Ask yourself: Is it essential to your mental wellbeing that you share your thoughts on various controversial issues with others?

To an extent, vocalizing support or opposition toward a particular matter provides us with the illusion of identity, allowing us to revel in the faint aroma of purpose.

On the other hand, however, we could probably all benefit from repressing some of those perspectives from the surfacing on the web.

For the opinions you choose to disclose nonetheless, set guidelines for yourself.

Moderate any posts that a coworker might deem inappropriate in an occupational environment, and don't post anything that might overstep those boundaries.

Perhaps most importantly, don't waste your time arguing on a public forum.

By writing this, I'm already feeling a bit self-righteous, as I did exactly what I advised against just last week. Drawing influence from that situation, I can assure you that it honestly isn't worth the trouble.

Enduring the backlash that results in a controversial social media posting can also prove detrimental to your mental health.

Because of a silly argument that could have easily been avoided by merely not responding or by not constructing the post to begin with, my day was plagued by products of guilt and discontentment when social media had previously delivered a sense of childlike enjoyment to my life.

Like with most utilities, social media is at its best when leveraged to your advantage.

Still, that's only truly made possible if you have nothing substantial or constructive to offer.

I'm still learning that my Facebook timeline isn't the proper venue for me to explain to a friend why "The Avengers: Age of Ultron" bears elements of misogyny or to validate my stance against police brutality.

As frustrating as it might be that someone else totes attitudes different than yours, it's best to assemble these types of debates privately, in more discrete settings.

We all get carried away sometimes. We forget that by revealing ourselves on social media, we're representing a brand. Regardless of employment status, that brand is you.

And, if you want to market yourself to the most expansive demographic possible, it might very well be worth the cost of omitting that one tweet that could limit your chances at achieving success.

For other opinionated, albeit aspiring, young professionals like myself out there, is it best for us to simply suppress our arguments, internalizing the voice that so desperately seeks emergence?

Or is there another option? Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Citations: may soon hinder my chances (TIME)