This post is by the Honest College intern Aspen Evans (SCAD).
Many of us see college as a time to finally be free, have fun, and find something that we’ll enjoy doing for the rest of our lives. Being in the generation of social media and networking, we feel practically obligated to document all of this via video, photos, and posts. Although college may feel like the best times of our lives, four years goes by pretty quickly, dumping us into the “real” world. The job market is difficult enough to enter into with near perfect resumes without having something from our pasts popping up and giving a future employer reason to choose another candidate. With the ability to “Google” search anyone, what used to be you and your friend’s business can now become your boss’s business.
To stay on the safe side, don’t post anything from wild parties or other social events and don’t allow anyone to tag you in those pictures. For instance, on Facebook when you post something or make a photo album you can select whether you want “friends of friends”, “friends” or “family to see what you’ve posted. You can even select certain people that you don’t want to see your posts or show up in their news feed such as professional contacts or that one “friend” that spreads all your business around. One student I spoke to said, “You have the option to hide photos on Facebook. You don’t have to announce everything on Facebook and Twitter for the world to know. Let your memories be YOUR memories!” Another student said, “I have a lot of family and teachers on my Facebook, so I think keeping that in mind helps keep my Facebook “clean”. Like, I wouldn’t post anything I didn’t want my grandma to see, right?”
The days of MySpace are over where “@$P3N TH@ GR3@T3$T” can still remain an adequate username. When you are being interviewed or considered for a job/internship, the internet is their pre-screen. Remember all those homework assignments and papers that you passed because of your best friend “Google?” You want to make sure that your online footprint passes their test. “I just don’t post anything I wouldn’t be comfortable with anyone seeing,” A fellow freshman stated. “I hide my little “political beliefs” section on Facebook when I’m applying for a job/internship though. It shouldn’t be taken into consideration but sometimes it is.”
Note to yourself: Never post when you are angry; especially when it is about a work related situation. Speaking about your job or really any company in a negative manner really hurts your future employment chances, especially if it is about you being fired or let go. Employers will look at it as, if you’ll talk about one company you’ll talk about their company.
Well, enough with the preaching and onto the positives. There are ways to gain a better online footprint than locking down and hiding your social media life. Sites such as LinkedIn or its close rival, Xing, are great sites to broadcast your skills, talents, experience, professionalism and readiness to join the workforce. **For a visible example, check out my LinkedIn profile at the end of the article. Internships.com is also a great asset to any college student seeking course credit or experience in the form of unpaid or the always coveted paid internship. I was recently contacted on the site and received an internship at a local production studio as a photographer for their plays, as well as doing head shots. If you set your profile correctly and keep applying, the same can happen for you.
As an aspiring fashion photographer and photojournalist, creative careers like mine take more than a degree to land a job. In the arts, experience, portfolios, CV’s, references and plenty of connections are needed to gain that dream job or the next best thing. Social media is a tool that has helped keep me connected to the right people and I plan on following my own advice and Maintaining an Internet Presence My Future Boss Won’t Cringe At.
**Check out Aspen’s LinkedIn Profile
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