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Social Media Do’s & Don’ts

By Kristine Penning, Creative Marketing Specialist,


You’ve probably heard it before: you need to clean up your social media before you start applying to jobs because employers will check you out. But have you ever thought about doing a few extra things to impress employers while you’re at it? Here is a list of a few things you definitely want to do on your social media to improve your image and a few things you should avoid.




  1. DO update your profile picture and cover photo: If your current profile pic is of you with a beer in hand and your tongue sticking out, chances are it won’t leave a positive impression to an employer regarding your true colors. Update it to a headshot (it doesn’t even need to be professional). Also, update your cover photo to something that showcases your passion or interests regarding your career path. For example, if you are an agronomist, grab a snap of a field and upload it.
  2. DO follow leading employers/organizations in your field. Show that you are in touch with current industry events and happenings. Retweet news or tweets that are striking to you. If you feel comfortable and know what you’re talking about, add to the dialogue as well with your own personal thoughts.
  3. DO be consistent. Make sure your LinkedIn profile and even other social media accounts line up with your resume and cover letter that you’ve submitted to employers. Job titles and employment dates are of most importance. If details don’t line up, employers will get suspicious.




  1. DON’T forget about privacy settings. Instead of worrying about deleting every unflattering photo or inappropriate status update, use your social network’s privacy settings to your advantage. Make your Twitter private if you have a history of cursing or insulting others. Swipe your Instagram settings to private if you have provocative or suggestive photos saved. Try to lock down anything you’re not using in a professional manner that you would be embarrassed if your grandparents saw.
  2. DON’T comment on hot-button issues (unless related to your industry). And even then, use good judgment before posting. If you don’t believe in GMO’s and comment on that, chances are you won’t be hired by any agricultural organization that sees this as a threat to their business. Aside from that, everyone has an opinion about politics. Keep your feelings about our presidential candidates and even Colin Kaepernick professional or don’t share them at all.
  3. DON’T label yourself “unemployed.” Or “Job Seeker.” Or “Looking.” “Student” might be okay, but even then, try to highlight something you’re doing right now that’s professional. If you’re the president of the AFA Chapter at your university or serving on the local county fair board, showcase that on your Facebook and LinkedIn. Even if you aren’t getting paid, it’s still relevant experience that’s far more attractive to employers than “Unemployed.” If you have nothing to showcase at the moment, just list your most recent position.


There are many more do’s and don’ts not included on this list. Follow’s Career Cultivation blog for more insight into using social media in the job search.