Career Building through Social Media: Do’s and Don’ts

In simpler times, the primary purpose of the vast majority of social media platforms (with maybe only one exception) was to connect with new friends and stay in touch with old ones—but times have changed. Your company likely has a profile on almost all channels, and social media is used to drive large and small business endeavors and communications. But how do you use social media to build your own career?


Make your profiles future employer friendly

Hiring managers are looking at your social media. Full stop. On platforms you plan to use specifically to further your career (more on this later), remove any posts or images that could put you in a bad light, appear unprofessional, or be misunderstood in a negative way. Look at your content critically—if there’s any doubt in your mind, delete. On the platforms you plan to keep private, consider who knows who knows who. You don’t always notice how your social network is connected, so it doesn’t hurt to do a sweep of everything.

Make your profiles current employer friendly

Take a look at your company’s social media policy—yes, they have one. Most companies don’t want you to stifle your personality, but it’s good to take a look at the behavior they expect out of their employees. As a rule of thumb, don’t talk disparagingly about your job, boss, coworkers, or the company you’re working at. We all need a place to vent, but social media is not that place. This applies to all platforms (not just the ones you are using specifically to help further your career). There is no such thing as a private conversation on the Internet.

Use different platforms for different things

You’re not required to use every social platform you are on to build your career. Take a look at the strengths of each platform and compare them to your goals. You already know you need to have a current profile on LinkedIn—it’s the world’s largest professional network and still one of the best digital spaces to get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers—but how can you utilize other social networks?


Make sure anything you don’t want people to see is private. And then make sure again. And as we’ve said before: delete (or hide) anything you would prefer an employer not see. Join relevant groups in your area and areas of interest—these can be an amazing resource for opportunities. Also, check out job opportunities as many companies are posting on the network.   


Like you’re doing with everything else, go through and hide or delete anything that doesn’t reflect the brand you’re building. If you’re in a creative field, turn your Instagram profile into a portfolio of your work—and don’t be shy about tagging the brands you’d like to work with. There’s space for a short bio, and you should utilize it. Keep it short and sweet—who you are and what you do. Take advantage of the option to include a link so you can direct your audience to your LinkedIn or larger portfolio.


Yes, there’s a lot going on with this social giant, and we’ve yet to see where things will land. But, if you are using Twitter to help establish your career identity, you can start by making sure your skills and interests are apparent. Follow and engage with companies, areas, and people that are in your industry or share your interests. Just be sure you understand what’s public and private with messaging.


The app everyone downloaded during the pandemic is actually a great resource for all sorts of career building tips, tricks, inspiration, and advice. It can also give you an opportunity to connect more easily with leaders in your field. Use the platform to find valuable information on almost any topic. Plus, because of the time constraints, these creators get to the point quickly.

One thing to remember about all of these platforms is how much of an impression clear communication, fact-checking information before posting, proper grammar, and correct spelling will make on any potential employer. The nature of how quickly information moves on social media can trick you into feeling like dashing off a quick reaction post is no big deal, but as the old saying goes, “reputation arrives on foot and leaves on horseback.” It’s easy to look foolish and spread misinformation—take a beat before you click “post.”

Follow Washington Post Jobs on social: Linkedin, Instagram, Facebook , and Twitter

Search for your next job now:


Back to listing

The Washington Post Jobs Newsletter

Subscribe to the latest news about DC's jobs market