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Five tips to clean up your social media presence and impress future employers

With the end of the semester drawing nearer, jobs and internships are on students’ brains. Today, more ResumeComputerImage
employers than ever are using social media to find and recruit potential employees and are even using social media sites to recruit you as future employees. In the case that your future employer is looking at your social media pages during the hiring process, here are some tips to ensure you’re presenting your best self on the Internet.

MORE: Read how employers are using social media in the hiring process

Tip #1: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t do (or say) in front of your friend’s grandmother.

It would be one thing to say, “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see” but not every grandmother is as reserved as others. Instead, think of your friend’s grandmother. You would want to make the best impression and that is exactly what should be your mindset for your social media profiles. Sometimes, we don’t think about that picture with our friends from Saturday night or that possibly offensive joke we retweeted or that posts that includes mature language. Freedom of speech, right?

But you need to think about how that makes you look to future employers. They want open-minded, responsible individuals with strong critical thinking skills. Even the most harmless of jokes could reflect poorly on you. Be aware of how you’re presenting yourself, because you may come off differently online.

MORE: Read how Twitter is leading to opportunities for Elon students

Tip #2: Create professional accounts.

Some people want to more expressive freedom on their personal accounts but want to keep a professional image for their employers. We have a solution for you – a professional account. Utilize a professional Twitter account to follow professionals in the field and get caught up on the latest news. Have a professional blog to show you can discuss topics in your field and show the skills that make you a good candidate. It can be useful to showcase your professional persona. Just know that this doesn’t keep your personal account from coming under scrutiny.  It is just a more organized way to separate your professional and personal online presences. Keep in mind that professional doesn’t mean boring or authoritative. Try to strike a balance between professional, knowledgeable and likable.

Tip #3: If you got it, flaunt it.

Do you have a blog? Do you think that you are a particularly entertaining Twitter user? Great! Show that off! Nowadays, people are putting their blogs or Twitter handles on their resumes, and boasting about their uses of social media in their cover letters. Companies are looking for social media savvy interns and employees who will contribute to the company in creative ways. So, if using social media is a skill you possess, let that be known in every application you send out.

Also, utilize all your social media sites to emphasize your career goals and interests. Link all of your pages so people can access every single account you have. If you’re a PR major, tweet about things you learn in your PR class. If you’re an English major, make a Pinterest board of your favorite books. There are so many ways you can flaunt your interests and dreams through social media and that way, so your potential employers see what you are passionate about and can bring to the table at their company.

MORE: Read how Elon students are using blogs to attract the attention of future employers

Tip #4: Get connected.

Do not approach your social media experience passively Social media sites are all about connections, so take advantage of that. Follow and like the pages belonging to your favorite companies or the professionals in the field. Take part in the conversations they’re having on these sites. Use social media to connect with people in your field that aren’t immediately around you. As the expression goes, “It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” The more you reach out and make a connection, the more memorable you will be.

Tip #5: Take responsibility for your account

In the end, you are creating the person employers see online. Whether you decide to alter your profiles or not, know that what you put on the Internet is a reflection of who you are, and that is what might sway an employer one way or another. Your online reputation is your responsibility – don’t forget that.

 

We tend to live under the assumption that social media is just a personal sounding board but if used correctly, it could land you the position of your dreams. Keep that in mind the next time you post, because you might not realize exactly who is looking at your page.

 

Image by Flickr user Elliot P. / Creative Commons licensed BY-CC 2.0

Casey Brown

Casey Brown

Casey Brown is the Writing Intern for Technology with Elon University's Teaching and Learning Technologies Department.

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