As college students, our professors always remind us to be aware of what we post on social media. Many people brush it off, assuming that hiring managers and potential employers will not take the time to look at candidates’ personal Twitter accounts or Instagram profiles.
However, a survey conducted by recruiting platform, Jobvite, found that 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile prior to making a job offer. That is a BIG number. In today’s competitive job market, if it comes down to it, your personal social media content could very well end up being the reason you miss out on a job or internship offer.
Here are some tips on how to stay professional online as a college student:
- Always remember that ‘private’ is not really private
In the eyes of many, clicking that magical button on your Facebook account that says “Make My Account Private” turns your profile into Fort Knox. Unfortunately, the Internet is not a private place. Employers can type your name into Google, and the search engine can potentially show photos that you think are hidden or private. Regardless of your privacy settings, be aware of the photos you post online. Forty-four percent of those surveyed by Jobvite said they were concerned about job candidates who had photos containing alcohol. If you have some typical college photos at a party with red cups, think twice before posting it online.
- Do not use social media platforms as a forum to complain
Whenever something goes wrong, people are quick to jump to social media to complain or voice their opinions. While everyone deserves to have their voices heard, there are certain things that you should avoid posting online. Do not use your personal accounts as a forum to complain about professors, supervisors or your job. Posting a negative comment on the Internet is essentially the same as yelling it through a megaphone; someone is going to hear it. Rather than posting negatively, use social media as a forum to praise good service and share positive experiences.
- Proper grammar is a must at all times
As aspiring public relations and communications professionals, it is assumed by future employers that we understand the basics of grammar. Before posting, double check that your personal sites are free of typos and grammar mistakes. Keep your AP Style Book by your side if you are ever unsure about how to properly refer to a particular subject. According to the Jobvite survey, 66 percent of hiring managers reported that they would hold poor grammar against candidates.
- Read before you retweet
Twitter is a great platform for developing your personal brand in the digital world. Retweeting articles relevant to the professional field you want to work in can help set you apart to potential employers. However, retweeting articles before thoroughly reading them is a risky game. Headlines rarely tell the whole story, and sharing a poorly written story or an article with incorrect information can reflect badly on you and your personal brand. Make sure you are 100 percent aware of what you are sharing.
Nici Bentivegna is an Account Executive on the Lundquist Center for Entrepreneurship team. She is a senior Public Relations major and will be graduating in June 2015. After graduation, Nici is joining the San Diego Chargers digital media team to pursue her interests in sports and social media strategy.