Today, almost everyone has an internet presence. Social media has grown to be a great resource for Aggies to connect with friends; however, it can be a double-edged sword.
At this moment, is there something on your Facebook that you wouldn’t want a current or future employer to see? Or even a potential grad school or professional school?
Mary Ellen Slayter is a career expert with Monster.
“Every recruiter that I know, every HR person that I know are all using tools that integrate social media into the way that companies filter through applicants for jobs. This is accelerating,” Slayter said.
It is becoming more and more common for a social media presence to be looked at to judge an applicant’s suitability. Social media has given companies a window beyond your resume into your life. Employers use it to see if you would be a good image for their company.
“Part of what companies do when they [search] for you on social media is to see how you conduct yourself. They want to know how you’ll interact with your co-workers and more importantly their customers or potential customers,” said Marcie Kirk Holland, a project manager at the UC Davis Internship & Career Center.
Putting forward the polished and honest side online can help snag that job; however, pictures of underage drinking, complaints about past jobs or anything of the sort can be enough to cause even a perfect resume to be tossed aside.
Matt Tarpey is a career advisor at CareerBuilder. In an email interview, he emphasized that social media is a great place to show off your positive qualities and your fun personality. However, he warned Aggies from oversharing as it can come back to haunt you.
On the other hand, if they can’t find anything at all, you might be worse off.
“If I google a college student and I find nothing that is a turn-off. I am less likely to call that person,” Slayter said.
Being off the radar will add nothing to your resume.
For Aggies about to enter the professional world, cleaning up that Facebook and Twitter account and removing some embarrassing photos or that very public argument will be a step in the right direction. If you’re going to share your life with the internet, you have to manage it.
Also, manage what others have posted on your profile. There are settings that make it so you have to approve a tagged picture before it shows on your Facebook wall. Don’t let your friends compromise your goals.
Keep in mind that a lot can be deciphered about you based on what you post.
“If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all; especially on social media,” Kirk Holland said.
Try posting with a purpose.
“You want to make sure that you’re posting good things that present the professional, academic side of you … Post professionally-related things. Post things that show that you have interests in the work you’re hoping to pursue,” Slayter said.
Some companies are interested in your social media abilities. If you are reaching for a marketing position and dealing with a company’s social media they might ask for an in-depth look at yours.
“One of the things they want to do, in addition to checking out [the applicant’s] Facebook, companies ask for access beyond their privacy settings. They like people to ‘friend’ them so they have better access to their full page,” Kirk Holland said.
They might ask about how often you Tweet or Instagram to get a feel for your abilities.
Already have a job? Still be cautious, because according to Tarpey, data shows that 22 percent of employers have fired someone for using the internet for a non-work related activity, and 11 percent say they’ve fired an employee for something they posted on social media.
So be a social media expert. Conduct yourself in a respectable manner while being yourself. If you are applying to a job or grad school be sure to clean up your profiles because their eyes might move directly from your application to your Facebook wall. Looking for a professional social media? Try Linkedin, it can be a great resource especially if you have a portfolio to share.
Being online is a personal choice, so whether you are or not, remember that you are seen.
“Online privacy is an oxymoron,” Slayter said.