Not all college students who party end up putting their drunken or less than fully-clothed mugs on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. For those that do however the consequences can be quite impactful.
While another school year is in session, many graduating seniors are already looking to line up jobs following next spring’s commencement, with some underclassmen doing likewise part-time to help pay for their college costs. Whatever the scenario, it is important that students have their online portfolios polished up.
What to Look Out for
According to a number of different surveys, more and more employers are looking at a student’s social media profile as part of the hiring process, whether it is a full-time job or a part-time position to help them pay bills while still in school.
While most of the danger zones should be self-explanatory, here is a reminder of what to avoid:
- Posting risqué photos on your Facebook or Twitter pages, including too little clothing, drinking etc.;
- Making ill-informed comments about classmates, teachers, other individuals;
- Making racist or sexual comments. Potential employers will frown upon this given that you will likely work with a number of different individuals in your employment;
- Lamenting that fact that you are lazy and do not like working. If you’re looking to get shot down before you even get your foot in the door for an interview, this is one way
Take the Positive Road in Your Profile
While we have highlighted the negative ways a social media profile can hurt you, there are other means by which it can help you.
If you’re a college student about to graduate or just looking for part-time work, use your social media profile to:
- Highlight your education. This can be done by pointing any internships, special projects, travels etc. that would be of value to a potential employer;
- Highlight your interest in a particular employer or employers. This will show companies that you have a high level of interest in working for them, something that they definitely want to know.
With the job market being tight and the national unemployment rate still hovering around 9.1 percent, it behooves students searching for jobs to have as many factors as possible leaning in their favor.
If a student doesn’t want to completely remove a Facebook or Twitter page while job hunting, temporarily take it down, then republish it once the job is in hand. Keep in mind that while you can “lock up” pages, potential employers can find ways to get into the sites via friends and family.
While noting Facebook and Twitter to date, students are advised to create a LinkedIn page in order to come across as more professional to potential employers.
LinkedIn is a great business networking site that can be utilized by students even if they’ve only held part-time jobs and/or internships to date. Many employers will look at such a page as a student being professional, organized and caring about their outward image.
Lastly, it is a good idea when preparing to send out feelers and/or resumes to employers while still in school to “Google” oneself and see what comes up.
In the event there is a negative material floating around the Internet, an individual has the opportunity to do some damage control before it gets in the hands of potential employers.
The best approach to take when posting comments or pictures to a social media site is would you want your mom or dad to see this about you. If the answer is no, what’s it doing there in the first place?
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects vehicle insurance writes extensively for www.business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.