Social media is a prominent part of every college student’s life.  There really isn’t a good way to avoid it, and by not avoiding it, it is of course all too tempting to jump in and join the fun.  Using sites like Facebook and Twitter can be fun and beneficial to you professionally at the same time, though.

The following tips will help you professionalize your profiles and give you an advantage over other students and young job seekers.

Career Spotlight: How to Get a Job in Social Media

Set a High-Quality, Professional-Looking Profile Picture

If you have access to a professional photographer on your campus (like in your career center) or elsewhere, go see them one day when you’re dressed up and look nice for a headshot.

If you don’t have that kind of service available, find a friend with a camera and have them take your picture.  Anything is better than a selfie or a picture of you getting that last drop of beer.

Standardize Your Picture Across All Profiles

Just having that professional headshot isn’t enough.  You also need to make it known and seen.  Don’t set it on Facebook and leave your others as unprofessional selfies.

Start branding yourself across each medium so you are instantly recognizable and people know who you are and that they’re on the right account (I’m sure there are other people with your first name and maybe even last name too).

Think Before You Post

This is the tough one, so I’m just going to throw it out there.  In order to be professional and appear professional, you have to act that way and that includes more than just changing your pictures around.

Think before you post, think about if you want your current or future boss reading what you are about to share with the world.  Think about the fact that what you share online is permanent and even deleting something doesn’t really delete if people already saw it.

Post About Current Events

I realize I probably just threw out a lot of what you would normally post about, so I’ll give you some new ideas.  Posting about current events can show your intelligence, as long as you are saying intelligent things.

You don’t even need to be blatantly obvious about your political ideologies and party alignments, just showing you are in the know and informed can be enough to peak someone’s interest.

Post About Your Future Career Field

While you’re studying to become a nurse, accountant, or even a journalist, and taking classes to prepare you for that, post about what you’re learning, the issues you see in that field, etc. to show you know what you are getting yourself into and this isn’t something you just woke up one day deciding to do.

Update Your Facebook About Page

Facebook has a lot of fields for information to fill in and a complete profile looks better than an incomplete one.

Use it as a mini resume, add your work experiences, your schools, your interests, movies, books, etc. to show your personality and experience at the same time.

Continue Your Mini Resume with Your Twitter Bio

Instead of just using a quote you like, use your twitter bio like a smaller version of your Facebook profile (due to the character limit, it will be much smaller).

Add your work positions, things you like, and what you are passionate about so people can find you in searches and know what you are into and what you are likely to be tweeting about.

Join Twitter Chats Focused on Your Major/Career

For just about any subject imaginable, there are regular, often weekly, Twitter chats among other students like you and professionals in the field.

Searching Google for “Twitter chat” followed with your major will yield likable results and joining those will start you on the right path to networking and getting connected with potential employers and coworkers.

Be active on LinkedIn

You may already have a LinkedIn profile set up beautifully, and if so, you’re already ahead of the game among many of your peers.  That, however, isn’t enough.

You can also be active on LinkedIn just like you are on Facebook, but instead of sharing what Disney princess or superhero you are most like, you can share articles about professionalism, life in the workplace, and specific articles to your major/career.

Just like with Twitter chats, this gets you connected to professionals and future employers.

Social media is growing rapidly and isn’t going away.  It’s time to take advantage of what we have in front of us on a professional level and not use it strictly for social purposes as we have for so long.