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Social Media Etiquette for Recent Grads

If you're a recent or soon-to-be graduate like me, you're probably in the midst of making the transition from student to young professional. What does that mean, exactly? It means you won't be able to nap every day, sweatpants will no longer be your daily uniform, and you will definitely not have an abundance of free time. More importantly, it means that you'll need to 'clean up your act' when it comes to your online social media activity.

According to a survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), more companies are using social networking websites as recruiting tools than ever before. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn is the top site for recruiting, followed by Facebook and Twitter, respectively.

Given the fact that more employers are turning to social media to find new recruits, it's important for recent grads to keep professionalism in mind when engaging in online social networking. Social networking can be a powerful tool in your job search. Think of yourself as a product. The social networking sites are your advertisements and employers are potential buyers. Your job is to convince employers that they should hire you.

Now, don't freak out. You don't have to cancel your Facebook account, lock your Twitter or delete your blog just yet. You can still have fun using social media without alienating potential employers. In fact, in many cases, having an online presence may even make you a more appealing candidate. Just remember that when you publish something on the Internet, it's there for good. That said, make sure you don't post anything you wouldn't want your boss to look at (like those pictures from that beer pong tournament you competed in). If you've posted anything in the past you'd rather potential employers not see, use your privacy settings to limit how your profile looks to the public.

Not sure if your privacy settings are up to par? Sign out of your account and try viewing it as the public would. If you don't like what you see, adjust your privacy settings.

Bottom line: you need to be mindful of potential employers when engaging in social media. Transitioning from student to working professional is not easy, especially when the details of your personal life are on display for the public to see. Ultimately, understanding where to draw the line between your personal life and professional life will help make the shift to young professional much smoother.

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