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How to Maintain Professionalism on Social Media

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Facebook, Instagram and Twitter aren’t just for catching up with old friends anymore. As we increasingly engage online with businesses and bosses, clients and colleagues, social media has become more enmeshed with the workplace than ever.

This doesn’t mean that social media can’t remain a fun outlet—just that everyone should adhere to a certain online etiquette.

The key guideline to remember: Your posts never truly go away. Even if you delete them, for example, they may have already been screen-grabbed by an acquaintance or reshared by a friend. Sometimes it only takes one inappropriate post to soil an otherwise professional-looking account.

Using good judgment online is important because you don’t want to hurt your chances before you’ve been fully considered, advises Wilmington-based career coach Ed Weirauch.

Weirauch, who specializes in writing resumes and helping clients through transitional work phases, believes super-personal posts are best in moderation—or even not shared at all.

If you’re constantly posting pictures of you heavily partying, he explains, you probably won’t make a positive online impression.

Weirauch also advises avoiding political posts. By publicly sharing your stance on partisan or controversial issues, you could risk “eliminating half of potential employers,” he says.

With all this in mind, you may be tempted to keep your social media accounts as private as possible. But connecting with co-workers and employers online can actually be a great networking tactic.

People check each other out on social media all the time, Weirauch says—so a visible, wisely maintained presence is important.