Students and new graduates are being urged to clean up their social media accounts in order to prevent their online profiles from damaging their career prospects.
If you’re an ambitious student who will soon be graduating and has yet to land your dream role, it could be time to take a critical look at your social media footprint. Does your potential employer know more about you than you think? Perhaps they’ve looked you up on Google and have found those long-forgotten Facebook snaps of that big night out in Freshers’ Week when you ended up with a traffic cone on your head? Students’ are notorious for their partying antics which is all well and good until photographic evidence of your endeavors ends up online for the world to see.
Many people approach social media as if it’s confidential and forget that anything shared online could find its way to their future employers. Whether it’s an inappropriate Tweet posted years ago, or a long-forgotten pic from a crazy night out, the news is rife with stories about well-known personalities being caught out by tasteless or unacceptable comments made when they were younger and not quite as internet-savvy.
If you’re serious about your career you should treat your social media profiles as an extension of your college resume. Our social profiles are representative of our personalities, pastimes, and interests, so it’s vital to be conveying the correct image of yourself to current or prospective employers.
By following LondonOffices.com’s list of 10 social media do’s and don’ts, students and new graduates can make sure they stay in their futures employer’s good books.
5 things to do
Check your privacy setting
Whilst many of us are guilty of thinking that our drunken snaps are safely hidden away from the prying eyes of current or future employers as our own personal profiles are private, did you know that anybody can see your tagged photos if the person that uploaded them has made the album public? So, make sure you have your privacy settings locked down.
Facebook status privacy settings have been known to change when posted from a mobile device, so however secure you think your privacy settings are, make sure you double check before posting.
Google your name and check what’s online
There’s tons of online information that can tell employers a lot about you: tweets, posts, blogs, and photos. It’s quite easy for employers to find information you may have preferred to keep private, and much of it can be found by simply Googling your name.
Pre-empt any disasters by Googling your own name and rectifying anything that may raise alarm bells to potential employers.
Create an online presence
If you’re looking for a new job, it’s important to have an online presence where you can showcase your skills and experience. Your online profiles will also help you connect with contacts who can help you in your job search or assist in moving you up the career ladder later on.
Watch your grammar
It might seem like no big deal to use texting language on social media, especially when it’s convenient while posting on your phone or when you can’t make your tweet fit otherwise.
However, you could be losing jobs because of it, as employers will often look negatively upon poor spelling and grammar.
It’s fine to rework the descriptions of your work experience so that it’s suitable for different platforms, but what’s not acceptable is if your titles, companies, and dates don’t match up. That’s a red flag for prospective employers and at the very least, shows carelessness.
5 things to avoid
Voice controversial opinions
While it is important to get involved with discussions online and flex your ideological muscles, nobody wants to employ an overly-opinionated loudmouth.
To employers, your passion could come across as argumentative and you may seem difficult. Steer away from controversial issues if you want to keep the peace.
Tweet about bad behavior
This is another really obvious one, but it can cause catastrophic results if not adhered to.
Turned up late for lectures for the third time this week and got away with it? Good for you, but don’t bother trying to brag to your friends about it over Twitter – you’re practically asking for future employers to find it and this will only show in a bad light.
Display unprofessional profile photos
If an employer conducts a Google search of your name, any pictures affiliated with any of your profiles may pop up on the first results page.
So, it goes without saying that career-driven folk should opt for a sensible profile picture opposed to a snap of you lying on the curb, drunk.
Bash current/previous employers
Many people are tempted to voice their work-related frustrations on Facebook or Twitter, and vent about how much their co-workers or boss have angered or upset them – this goes for students who may have only ever had a part-time job. But keep in mind that prospective employers may be looking out for this type of information, so refrain from making these comments at all costs.
Mock your customers
Like complaining about your boss, mocking or complaining about your customers or clients can have equally detrimental effects. Complaining about customers only shows your company and your work ethic in a bad light. Most employers won’t stand for that, so avoid posting these types of complaints online.