Director of Growth + Student Experience
When you were a senior in high school, you may have changed your name on your social media profiles to some quirky nickname. Many students are concerned about having their dream colleges find them online, see all their theme-party costumes, and decline their application. But it seems like the opposite is the case for college students who are 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 (usually 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’re an influencer with something to say that many people want to hear.
Perfecting your social media presence can make all the difference in your career search, so here’s a breakdown of some of the ways you can clean up your accounts and improve your chances of landing a job.
- Rule #1: 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, so always think before you tweet.
- If you want to voice potentially controversial opinions on Twitter, we highly recommend that you make your profile private.
- If your profile isn’t private, posting pictures from events, dinners, or visits to interesting places like museums is usually the safest route and can show that you're well cultured. 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), showing that you travel is another way of demonstrating that you’re adventurous. 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.
- Appropriate 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.
- We also highly recommend you make your entire Facebook account private. There's no need to change your name, but there’s always a chance that a friend of yours could post something inappropriate on your wall or tag you in a bad picture, and it's just not something you want a potential employer stumbling across. You can make sure your account is privatized to your liking and see how the public views you on Facebook by going to your profile, clicking the three-dots button underneath your cover photo on the bottom right-hand side, and selecting "View As."
- 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!
By applying these tips to your social media profiles, you can get back to Tweeting and Instagramming and everything else-ing like a pro.
Find more answers to your biggest job-related questions in our Ask the Experts—Internships and Careers section.