Is Social Media Harming Your Legal Career?

- Richard Brock

As social media and online network continue to grow in popularity, it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate our real lives from our online personas. Likewise, the lines that prevent our personal and professional identities from overlapping becomes blurrier by the day; this is why you must be careful of what you share online.

As a legal professional, you should maintain a high level of composure and avoid posting anything that might compromise your image. The truth is that if you are not cautious, social media can do serious damage to your legal career.

It’s Easy to Google
You do not have to be a celebrity for your name to show up on a Google search. In fact, many employers include Google searches in the hiring process. Your Facebook page, your Twitter profile, and any platforms that you use online will show up on these searches.

Protecting your integrity as an attorney is critical so here are some tips on how you can keep social media life from harming your career:

  • Set Your Facebook Account to Private – This is the simplest way you can keep your personal life private. Simply set your Facebook account so no one can view your pictures without friending them first.
  • Use an Alias – Do you may have a blog where you share controversial opinions on certain issues? While in and of itself it may not be detrimental, you don’t want to offend anyone, especially a potential employer. Instead of using blogging under your real name try using an alias instead.
  • Minimize Status Updates – Constant and detailed status updates typically do more harm than good so keep them to a minimum.

You should also always filter the pictures that you post on your social media accounts by asking yourself ‘is this something I’d want my boss or colleagues to see?’

Be Original
In the legal profession, it is important to show to show your bosses, co-workers, and clients that you are competent. If you want to earn trust, you must always project an air of capability.

One of the things that can instantly tarnish your credibility is plagiarism. This theft of someone’s work shows says that you are not thorough and at worst, unethical. It seeps into the social media realm, as well, so always be on your toes. Do your best to develop original content and if you borrow a quote or a picture always make sure to give credit where it is due.

Pitfalls to Avoid
Unfortunately, there are many seemingly harmless social media habits that can damage your career prospects. These pitfalls include:

  • Text Shorthand – You may think that using text acronyms like “SMH” or “PPL” is cute, but chances are your prospective boss may not look favorably upon such informal grammar.
  • Discussing Interviews – This can immediately destroy any trust you may have garnered with your would-be employer. The fact is that many job offers are to remain confidential and sharing them on social media could immediately disqualify you as a candidate.
  • Bad Mouthing the Boss – No matter how irritated your superiors make you, tweeting about them is never a good idea.

Although this list isn’t all-inclusive, the one thing that these and other “social media don’ts” share in common is that none of them would be considered professional. Hence, the bottom line is that just as you’d want to do so offline, always strive to put your best foot forward online, as well.
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