Thanks to today’s technology, college students can capture practically every single memory of their crazy college years online.
Whether it’s Instragram photos of wild parties or questionable tweets at 2 a.m., social media allows college students to remember every experience. While it may seem like a good idea to document everything while you’re young, it could end up costing you a future job.
Now, it’s not only those of us who post to social media the stories of our crazy escapades, but it’s also sharing inappropriate content and displaying unprofessional behavior online. Sure, college is all about having fun and expressing yourself, but it’s important to keep in mind that your career begins today.
When it comes to building a positive online reputation, Dr. Patrick Bishop, Ferris public relations program champion and professor, knows exactly what it takes to create an image employers are looking for.
“Your posts are your reputation; they scream loudly about what you believe and who you are,” Bishop said. “It’s well-reported that employers are monitoring social media and posts in poor taste have cost people job offers.”
According to a recent study by CareerBuilder.com, 79 percent of recruiters and hiring managers look at online information about potential hires. What’s even crazier is nothing’s private. No matter how hard you try to make your profile “unsearchable,” employers are able to get around those privacy settings.
With this in mind, it’s important to think about the type of image you want to create for yourself online. You can still post photos with you and your friends on Facebook or tweet about fun memories, but it’s always important to think about who could be viewing your profile.
“Some people see monitoring their views and posts on social media as a limitation,” Bishop said. “I would respond by saying, most of us don’t walk around saying the first thing that comes to mind, or letting our compulsions or emotions rule our actions.”
Now, if you plan on applying for internships soon, it’s probably a good idea to do a check of what your social media presence says about you. Bishop mentioned when it comes to hiring employees and interns, it’s all about having the right attitude. Employers want to be able to weed out the bad candidates from the good. They also want to see that you have good judgment, make reasonable lifestyle choices and have involvement in different activities.
“I can teach many skills, but it’s very hard to teach attitude,” Bishop said. “Negativity and an extreme lack of professionalism would be a clear indication of someone to avoid.”
The bottom line is, don’t post anything on Facebook you wouldn’t want Grandma to see. Even if your grandmother is a pretty hip lady, she probably doesn’t want to see you doing a keg stand or passed out in your front lawn.
Ultimately, your online presence is all about how you want to be perceived. Bishop says it’s all about “keeping it real” and remembering that whatever is posted online stays there forever.
“Letting your emotions and words flow unchecked isn’t freedom, it’s a lack of self-control, which, in reality, is a lack of maturity and emotional intelligence,” Bishop said. “As Dr. Phil says, ‘so, how’s that working out for you?’”