When sending out job applications, did you know that about 40% of job employers will view your Facebook before hiring you? That's more than one in three jobs that you'll be applying to! And when companies need to recruit employees—a form of hiring where employers find you rather than you applying for their positions—73% of job recruiters say they find their employees using social media. It's easy to see that keeping a clean Facebook page and social media presence in general is absolutely vital; it is the first impression you will have on a number of professionals, including potential internship and/or co-op companies. You are a professional in the making! So get a head start and take some steps to maintain your Internet reputation.
Keep the clean in good, clean fun
Sure, college life is fun, and spending your nights with friends after a long day of classes and homework may just be the best way to unwind. But there are a lot of ways to hang out on campus that don’t involve “partying,” as you probably already know. Mix it up! Check out your campus calendar to find upcoming activities. Find something that might interest you and invite your friends. College shenanigans are great, but you don’t want unfortunate pictures posted to your Facebook (or somewhere else) that you might regret—eek!
Show off your learned languages, not bad language
Social media is a way to express yourself. However, try to refrain from swear words. Sure, they may seem harmless, but to a professional hiring manager, they look bad. Just three years ago, a study indicated that nearly half of social media profiles contained swear words. With this in mind, posting inoffensive status updates will already put you ahead of the game when it comes to making a good impression on future employers.
Highlight your achievements, not your frustrations
Although you may not be saying or doing anything that’s technically “bad,” venting frustrations and disappointments may make you come off as a negative. Employers don’t want to see that. They’re looking for people who will take the job with a positive attitude, and even though everyone gets frustrated at times, expressing the negativity about your situations on your social media will give the wrong first impression. Instead, try highlighting your achievements. Did you do great on your test? Are you grateful for Saturdays? Did you just get back up an awesome trip? Trying to maintain a positive attitude behind a computer screen is difficult because your guard is down (and there is no personal confrontation), so when you can achieve this, you will only look that much better in the eyes of employers.
Keep your profile public
Although some people may advise you to keep your Facebook or Twitter profile private, it's important that you show potential employers that there's nothing for you to hide about yourself. Having a restricted profile may cause suspicion and curiosity of your lifestyle and personality. However, with an innocuous online presence, there's no shame in showing who you are to those potentially hiring you.
Getting a job may be far down the road for you if you're just starting (or have yet to start) college—but internship opportunities will come up faster than you think, and those four years go by pretty quickly to begin with. Keeping a close eye on what you post to your social media will prepare you for a more successful future. Employers, even those offering internships, will be looking at posts from the past years, so make sure to do yourself a favor and have self discipline when it comes to your Internet personality.