Thanksgiving season has a different meaning for students. For some, Thanksgiving is the light at the end of the tunnel after a long semester. It might be a time to remember what you are especially thankful for. Or perhaps it’s the start of crunch time to get applications in for coveted internships or even — dare I say it — jobs.
Social media can be an amazing tool, but it can also hurt your chances at landing your dream job. And, perhaps, unfortunately for students, employers are looking at social media more and more each day.
A 2013 study by CareerBuilder found that the two most common reasons employers choose to not hire someone because of their online presence is for inappropriate photos or information, or for posts about drinking and drug use.
During my internship last year, I saw first-hand how much employers looked at social media when they were reading applications for younger people for entry-level positions.
Below, I’ve listed a few tips that you should keep in mind when using social media.
Assume that your future employer can see everything you post.
Watching my supervisors at my internship look up a potential candidate on social media was truly eye-opening. They can find anything. Just because something looks like it is protected on your end does not mean that it is hidden. You can’t always beat the system.
Use the New York Times test.
A good rule of thumb that I have been taught is to rate everything by the standard of the New York Times. If you don’t want the whole world to be exposed to something, don’t post it. It’s easy for something that you think might be innocuous to be misconstrued and to be seen by millions of people — literally.
Even though Snapchat thrives on its ability to make users feel like their posts are private, unless you are exceptionally good at hiding your username, potential employers can add you and see your story.
Your interactions reflect who you are.
I never really thought about how posts I interacted with on Twitter or Instagram reflected on me until this summer when my mom brought up some silly tweets of some of my friends that I had “favorited” the night before. Even though they were all quite inconsequential, I became so much more conscious of what I favorite because if I don’t want my mom to see it, I definitely don’t want future employers to see it and judge me.
Be the employee that you want to be considered on all social network sites.
Your professional image is not just your LinkedIn. Your professional behavior is reflected throughout everything connected with your name.
Maybe these rules make me sound like someone who doesn’t want any of her college experience documented, but that’s not it at all. I just know that nothing is private once it has been shared.
Meg Omecene is a junior studying strategic communication and the public relations director for The Post. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.