Steps in the module:
- Learn: Read the following document.
- 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 a week for your employer does not and clearly could be seen as a negative message.
A solid 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 purely social with casual status updates and photos. We know many employers use social networking sites to research candidates. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are the leading platforms hiring managers check.
Manage Your Online Presence
Using the strictest privacy settings on social networks is a good start but does not guarantee complete privacy in potential employers’ eyes. Keep your social postings professional so that future employers do not misjudge you. If you would not say it 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. Remember that your visible photos across various social media accounts make a first impression before meeting 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 privacy settings to ensure the people who see your posts are the people intended to see your posts
- Be careful when sharing political and 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 for anyone to see or read 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. 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; ensure that a post will not damage your career or academic opportunities before publishing it. 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 ensure 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 your content 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 compromising for 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 and contact critical 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 and 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, ensure 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 ask former employers, teachers, and colleagues to give LinkedIn recommendations.
Facebook – Find or reconnect with contacts; Ask for feedback or information. Keep in mind, though, that Facebook is primarily 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
- Search.twitter.com or https://twitter.com/search-advanced
- Use “#” for keywords
- Tweetmyjobs.com, tweetajob.com, twitjobsearch.com
- Twellow.com (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 Indeed.com 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 of 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 but also 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 overwhelming for college students juggling time commitments like schoolwork, extracurricular activities, and internships. However, it is possible to cultivate a winning online presence by breaking down goals into smaller tasks:
- Evaluating reputation
- Removing inappropriate content
- Setting up profiles
- Increasing your search engine visibility
- 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.