Train Your Student Employees

Social Media and You Module

Steps in the module:

  1. Learn: Read the following document.
  2. Complete the reflection activity.

Step 1 – Learn

What Your Social Media Presence Says About You

Social Media allows people to react instantly to situations by sharing and posting their thoughts and words with family, friends, and sometimes, unbeknownst to you, anonymous employers and listeners. Thanking a company for excellent customer service spreads positivity, but ranting about having to work late twice in one week for your employer does not and clearly could be seen as a negative message.

It follows, then, that a strong online presence can be an asset in today’s competitive job market. However, what you do on social media has the power to both help and seriously limit your chances of a job interview. Many students consider their social media accounts as purely social with casual status updates and photos.  We know a huge majority of employers use social networking sites to research candidates. The three main platforms hiring managers check are LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Manage Your Online Presence

Using the strictest privacy settings on social networks is a good start but does not guarantee complete privacy from potential employer’s eyes. Keep your social postings on the professional so that future employers do not misjudge you. If you would not say to your co-workers with your supervisor listening, do not say it on social media sites! Some people have even suspended or deleted certain social media during their job search. Keep in mind that your visible photos across various social media accounts make a first impression before you’ve even met a potential recruiter or employer. Always use an appropriate profile photo for all social media channels and hide personal “incriminating” photos. Treat social media as a network, not a popularity contest.

  • Double-check your privacy settings to ensure the people who see your posts are the people intended to see your posts
  • Be careful when sharing political and/or religious views
  • Delete offensive wall posts. When in doubt, delete it.
  • Google yourself and then automate it with Google Alerts

Continually consider the “Wall Street Journal” or “NY Times” test before posting – would you want your family to see this posting if it was a headline in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times? What about an employer’s reaction? If the answer is no, do not post it. Whatever you post online remains online for anyone, anywhere to see it or read it forever! Remember, no matter what channel you post on, every “like,” comment, status update, or photo posted online leaves a digital footprint! That footprint will be either positive or negative. Having a positive, consistent presence on various social media sites makes it easier for hiring managers to find you.

Managing Your Reputation Throughout College

Students can best control their online reputations by remaining proactive about submissions; make sure certain a post will not damage your career or academic opportunities before you publish it. Having this mental filter can prevent social media emergencies when you must rush to remove content or contact website administrators. Be very deliberate with the information you post online, and make sure that it does not tarnish other people’s reputations either!

First and Second Year Students

  • Select new friends carefully.
  • Avoid over-sharing information with the public; it could put you at risk.
  • Monitor tagged photos for inappropriate content.
  • Add classmates to maximize productive interactions.
  • Avoid adding current instructors or school administrators since the content you post can lead to awkward academic situations, i.e., skipping class and accidentally posting a photo from the beach.

Third and Fourth Year Students

  • Remove or hide content that might compromise your job search prospects
  • Develop professional social networking ties through websites like LinkedIn
  • Add connections that emerge from internships, fieldwork, and volunteer activities
  • Research companies where you wish to work and contact key people to ask questions
  • Monitor social media job boards for upcoming employment opportunities

How Are You Using Social Media in Your Job Search?

You can leverage social media to your advantage while searching for a position by using it to research a company you are interested in, as well as its recent news. You may also connect with recruiters and find out about openings. Social media is a great way to reinforce your professional brand. However, make sure all social media profiles are clean, so you and your degree can do the work you are meant to do as you search for your dream job.

LinkedIn: Your Professional Network; Connect with Alumni; Build new connections.

  • The profile picture should be a “headshot” of you dressed professionally
  • Connect with professionals for informational interviews
  • Utilize the “my network” link under Network to find profiles of USC alumni
  • Visit company pages and follow them; search their job postings
  • Create a LinkedIn profile
  • Learn how to use your profile here effectively:

The “Add Link or Upload File” option lets you add illustrative examples of your experience with an employer, which might include marketing campaigns, news articles, press releases, research reports, and even interactive media. You can also request former employers, teachers, and colleagues to give you LinkedIn recommendations.

Facebook – Find or reconnect with contacts; Ask for feedback or information. Keep in mind, though, that Facebook is mostly personal content.

  • “Like” a specific company’s Facebook page; interact on their page through comments and liking statuses.
  • “Like” a professional association’s page
  • Use Facebook job search apps like BranchOut or Jobvite, etc.

Twitter – Share information; Promote your ideas

  • Join company Twitter accounts
  • Use lists to separate job search from personal Twitter
  • or
  • Use “#” for keywords
  • (to find users and experts)
  • Retweet those you follow (companies, job search experts, job search engines) to get their attention

Indeed – Comprehensive job posting search engine.

Many job seekers think of as a worldwide employment-related search engine, but that is not all it does. If you upload your resume to your Indeed account, it is added to a resume database that employers can browse. When you aren’t actively seeking and applying, interested recruiters who have discovered you on Indeed can still contact you.

Taleo – Employer/Applicant database

Taleo is an employer and applicant cloud-based software-driven by Oracle, one of the largest corporate software organizations in the world. According to their statistics, almost 50% of Fortune 100 companies rely on Taleo for hiring. If you apply to organizations that list jobs on Taleo, having a pre-filled Universal Profile can help you save time during the job search process since you will not have to fill out the same information multiple times.

Having too many accounts with long periods of inactivity can make potential employers think you are the kind of person who will not stick around. Determine the best platforms for you and close inactive accounts.

Managing your social media footprint does not just mean cleaning up your profiles; it also means being more careful with your posts. If you tend to post inappropriate things while angry or impaired, find ways to keep yourself from doing so.

Social media reputation management can seem like an overwhelming task for most college students juggling time commitments like schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and internships. However, it is possible to cultivate a winning online presence by breaking your goals down into smaller tasks: evaluating reputation, removing inappropriate content, setting up profiles, increasing your search engine visibility, and branching out into professional networks. Since social media practices and norms are continually changing, you should continue to monitor and use your accounts so that you do not fall out of the loop.