confused in cambridge

Dear Meryl,

I recently graduated from high school and am currently applying to Ivy League universities and I don’t want to run the risk of wrecking my image through social media platforms. I understand that there is a need for some professionalism through these accounts, but am unsure about the extent of it. Do you have any tips on how I should vary my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts?

Thanks,

Confused in Cambridge

Dear Confused in Cambridge,

Congratulations on finishing high school! Welcome to the world of all-nighters and binge drinking on nights you should probably be writing your final essays that are due in two days. I’m very happy to hear you’re keen on taking extra caution on your social media image as you enter this stage of your life.

Every few years, the next big thing seems to appear on the social media horizon. With that, your information becomes readily available to those connected to the Web. The way you present yourself through different platforms is important and certain limitations apply to all.

The screenshots below will give you a gist on portraying yourself through Profile Pictures on different social media platforms.

As you can see, the Profile Pictures on all platforms vary in terms of professionalism. For LinkedIn, your image should allude to your persona in a manner you would want prospective employers to view you.

On Facebook, for example, since privacy settings can be altered, and it is not really a means of communication or highlighting your educational or work experience, you can add a little bit of funk – but not too much! If the photo didn’t crop out the half full bottle of Jack Daniels, it would be slightly problematic.

On Twitter, Reena left out her surname from her username as she does not want anyone knowing that one of her favourite tweets is the confirmation of the existence of the Brontosaurus… Although, that is life changing.

Finally, for LinkedIn, a social media platform that is career and business-focused, your personal profile should be a lot different. According to Forbes, LinkedIn is especially helpful when it comes to landing higher-paying jobs—“informal recruitment” is a favourite of hiring managers aiming to fill positions which are high on the pay scale. Having no picture at all is a huge mistake, but if you do have one, show yourself, not your airbrushed, floating-on-a-cloud, self. Show a simple headshot with your bright eyes and your gleaming smile. Don’t wear a wig. Don’t include your boyfriend. Don’t put a photo of your cat, Sprinkles.

I hope you’re less confused.

Screen Shot 2015-04-14 at 12.14.50 AM

Love,

Meryl

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