When was the last time you used Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook? Even if you’ve been living under a rock, you’re likely to be using one of these platforms right now. Social media has taken over our lives and it constitutes so much of what we do; it’s almost impossible to imagine modern life without some form of connecting via the internet. As college students, social media is a huge part of day-to-day life, whether you use it to connect with friends or make connections for a class. It’s difficult to find a college student who doesn’t use social media in one way or another.
In many ways, social media has become the norm. It has taken over more of our lives than we would like to admit. One telling concept is the one where it has become common for employers to look up potential employees. This strategy has progressed from simply googling a candidate, to seeking out their social media accounts and assessing them based on that. Now, some social media sites are specifically made for employers to look at and gauge what their potential employees may be like. What you do online could very well affect whether you get a job once out of college.
Other than platforms like LinkedIn, social media is supposed to be fun—somewhere for entertainment and relaxation. While that is true, it is important to be careful, especially nowadays when around 70 percent of employers are known to be looking at the social media accounts of their potential employees. As a college student, it is understandable that maybe you haven’t really focused on making your social media accounts as professional as employers might expect from you. Though, as time goes on and as you get closer to graduating, this consideration into social media made by employers will become a more prominent aspect of your life.
Even now, whether you’re a freshman, senior or anything in between, when applying for internships and jobs, you might get a taste of someone looking through your social media to get an idea about you and how you work. Not every employer out there will be actively looking to screen you through social media, but why risk the chance of a single post ruining your chances of something you worked hard for.
It is common sense and fairly obvious that posting anything drug-related is something to be wary of when it comes to social media, yet common sense doesn’t always win out. Posting about drug usage might not only affect your chances of employment but it might actually affect you in present time with your college life. You live your life how you want to live it but if you’re planning on drugs being a factor in it, be aware that it will have an impact on anything you might want to do later in life.
Having any type of discriminatory content—whether made intentionally or naively—ranging from topics such as race, gender and religion, is also something that discourages employers from reaching out to you. Everyone has different opinions, and this warning isn’t to silence any of what you might want to say, it’s only to keep you aware of what people may be looking at when you post online. As mentioned before, it is understandable that while being in college you might not be fully aware of what you are posting online, but it does matter. As creepy as it sounds, people are watching.
You always must be careful when mentioning current employment or even internships of any kind on social media. Bad-mouthing a former boss or coworker or even the company will not get you into good standings. Being careful is the key concept for anything you do and post on any social media platform, but because it is something that is thought of as personal and fun. Many people, especially younger ones like students in college, don’t realize that maybe complaining about a current or former job or giving away confidential information about that job accidentally or otherwise, can have a humongous impact in your future life.
Now, this may sound trivial, but grammar, and basically how you present yourself, is going to have an impact on how employers evaluate you. If your username is maybe a bit juvenile or what is considered unprofessional, odds are, you won’t make too much of a good impression. Having a professional social media presence, like a LinkedIn account proves to be helpful in your prospects for employment. Many college students are preparing for their future by making sure to be present in professional platforms, but not all of them are aware that this is something they might want to be doing. If for whatever reason it shows through your posts that you have trouble connecting with people or that you have poor communication skills, that’s also something employers look at and tend to avoid when evaluating people through social media. Lying, having a criminal background and maybe boasting about it, and even evidence showing that you’re on social media too much, are all factors that many employers take into consideration.
I know it’s daunting to think about, and many of you are probably thinking “I should really check my posts” right about now, but it’s not all bad. Yes, most employers out there will consider any type of social media you might have, and yes, things you might see as trivial might have a bigger impact in your life than you previously thought, but it isn’t difficult to adjust what you have been doing with your social media. You just have to be aware of what you are actively posting for other people to see.