Social media can help or hurt job Perspectives for young professionals

Kyle Heim, an SU communication journalism professor sat down with a Slate staff member on Monday to lay out some professional advice for students using social media. Heim specializes in print and online media and teaches social media strategy.

Having a social media presence is important for students in communications and business majors, but all students should be conscious about how they post. 

Future employers might think a prospective employee has something to hide if they do not have any social media presence or profiles, Heim said. 

While most students see social media as a way to express themselves personally, they should be aware of how they’re expressing themselves professionally, he said. Posts about coming to class late or hungover can damage a student’s future career prospects. 

Heim said to consider how employers would see that content, “What would your boss think? What would your coworkers think?”

Employers even look at posts someone has shared as a potential reflection of their personality, Heim said. 

“If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” he added. 

When evaluating a post, students should check who posted it originally, check what else they’ve posted and do a Google search of the source. The trustworthiness of a source will reflect back on the person who shares it, Heim said. 

Social media users should consider if the source of a post has an agenda because their name will be associated with the source by future employers, he said. 

When it comes to a person’s social media, pictures are just as important as text content, Heim said. 

Heim noted that one of his former students, who was interviewing for a position with a public relations firm, was not hired because their profile picture on social media was seen as provocative, he said. 

Anything posted on social media may be viewed by not only employers but family, significant others, friends and complete strangers. As young professionals, social media can be a great tool for students when created and used responsibly.  

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