We all remember the days in high school when every senior started changing his/her name on Facebook to a quirky nickname—usually right around the time their college applications were due. Seniors were (rightfully) concerned about having their dream colleges find them on Facebook, see all their theme-party costumes, and decline their application.
But it seems like the opposite is the case for students already in college who are now applying for internships and jobs. In this day and age, having a robust presence on social media is expected—you want people to find you—and it can even make your candidacy for a job that much stronger. In fact, we see many students list their follower count if it's a significant number (such as more than 3,000) as a "fun fact" on their résumé, which very often makes employers pay special attention when considering them for a job. After all, having many followers can indicate that you are an influencer with something to say that many people want to hear.
Still not convinced that your social media profile makes a difference? Here’s a breakdown of some of the ways in which employers may judge at your online presence:
- Food pictures can show that you're well-cultured. Also, if you're uploading images of fancy meals, then chances are you know how to hold your own in a dinner meeting with a client.
- Pictures from events or visits to interesting places like museums convey a similarly cultured message.
- When it comes to outdoorsy pictures, unless they're all of you in a skimpy swimsuit (which you may not want on your Instagram anyway, at least for the sake of avoiding creepy people taking screenshots), then showing that you travel is another way of demonstrating that you are adventuresome. Even if it is just a road trip across your state, travel tends to come up in conversation no matter what industry you work in, so it's great to show that you have some experience getting out of your comfort zone.
- Quotes are an easy way to show your intellectual, thoughtful, or funny/quirky side. Some things don't always register in a posed-picture, but having one simple quote will often do the trick of portraying what's on your mind.
- Avoid being offensive. We've heard about too many candidates not receiving a job offer purely because of something they wrote on Twitter. Apparently 140 characters is just enough to ruin your reputation.
- If you want to voice potentially controversial opinions on Twitter, we highly recommend that you make your profile private.
- We also highly recommend you make your entire Facebook account private. No need to change your name, but there is always a chance that a friend of yours posts something inappropriate on your wall or tags you in a bad picture, and it's just not something you want your potential employer stumbling across!
- Don't forget that your cover and profile photos can be seen by anyone who finds you, even if your account is private, so keep them PG too!
- If you’re not sure if you’ve privatized your account to your liking, you can also see how the public views you on Facebook by going to your profile, clicking the three-dots-button on the bottom right side of the cover photo, and selecting "View As."
Now, apply these tips to your social media profiles and get back to Tweeting and Instgramming and everything else-ing like a pro!