20 years ago, you could truly be anonymous on the web. Today, most students have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Snapchat and more social media sites. As you send out your applications for school or internships, you should keep your social media accounts private, or keep the content appropriate for all eyes.
LinkedIn is excellent for networking and allows you to showcase your best self to potential employers and connections. Chances are that a potential employer is going to see that photo and wants to get a good sense of who you are. Do your social media profile photos show you in the best light?
You may have been able to take the perfect, professional LinkedIn photo, but that may not be the only place your employers are looking. Would you be comfortable with them seeing your Facebook profile photo, too? Keep in mind that even if your statuses are private, your profile photo may not be. You can always test out the privacy settings on social media, so make sure that employers can only see what you want them to see.
Think Before You Snap
As you start internships and residencies, you need to keep not only your own privacy, but the privacy of your patients in mind. It may seem like a no-brainer, but unfortunately, some health care providers have found themselves breaching the privacy of their patients, from sharing complaints to posting photos of patients in their most vulnerable moments. In 2014, Slate reported multiple incidents where health care providers were posting private information just for the “likes.” The generation of students starting their health care studies may have more knowledge than their predecessors on how far reaching posts can be and how destructive they can be to a professional reputation. Although it seems obvious, keep your work grievances offline and never take photos of patients.
We have all searched for ourselves online. It may have been to see what images of ourselves are the most popular, or to see if there are people out there with the same name. Do you want to know what your schools and prospective employers will see first? Set up a Google Alert to find out if anything new about you shows up online. If you end up on the honor roll and a local paper publishes it, it can be found with a few clicks. But if a friend tags you in a picture from a party, you do not want those pictures showing up if you are in a tight race with other prospective students. You deserve to have a social life outside of studying for that chemistry exam, but it should not be the most interesting piece of your online presence.