BY CASSIE TOLHURST
To tweet, or not to tweet: that is the question for socially active college grads and young professionals hunting for coveted internships in person and online. And if you think potential employers are searching for your presence online, too, you’re right.
In fact, a 2016 CareerBuilder survey reveals that 60% of surveyed employers look on social media sites to research job candidates and see if these applicants present themselves professionally. Additionally, 60% use social media to learn more about an applicant’s qualifications.
Employers aren’t just looking for your good qualities and personality, though. They’re also searching for reasons not to hire you. In that same report, 41% of surveyed employers say they’re less likely to interview job candidates if those people aren’t easy to find online. And out of 49% of hiring managers who use social media to screen job applicants, 43% say they have found content, such as evidence of drinking or drug use, that led them not to hire the candidate.
All of this means that if you want to nail that competitive internship, it’s time to brush up on your social media etiquette and clean up your profiles so you can make a positive and lasting impression. Here’s how.
Post Your Way to the Top
Ask just about any recruiter and they’ll tell you that social media can help you land a job. Follow these tips to clean up your accounts and use them to impress potential employers:
- Upload a high-quality headshot for your profile image. Make it easy for an employer to recognize you. Skip the group shots and use a professional headshot on all your social media profiles.
- Be active. If you want your social media accounts to help you land an internship, stay active on your public profiles. Post regularly and share content that relates to your ideal job industry or role.
- Sign up for alerts. Depending on your circle of friends, sign up to receive notifications whenever someone tags you in a photo or mentions you in a comment. It might just save you from finding your name or picture in an embarrassing post or picture.
- Curate your professional profiles. Unless you’re aiming for a job in social media, employers and recruiters don’t expect to find you on every platform. If you want to dedicate your Snapchat to content about your personal life, make the account private. You may also want to change your username to something less identifiable.
Avoid Social Media Faux Pas
We’ve all heard the social media horror stories, from leaked images to viral reviews. When you’re applying for internships, there is such a thing as bad press. Avoid making these social mistakes:
- Publicizing personal information. You don’t need to share every detail of your breakup, date, night out on the town, or student loan debt.
- Featuring swear words, poor grammar, and slang. If you wouldn’t say it in front of your grandma, don’t post it on social media. Also, poor grammar and inappropriate slang could make you look unprofessional.
- Criticizing a business or individual. The last thing a potential employer wants to see is a candidate bad-mouthing a former boss or speaking ill of a business.
- Sounding like a robot. You’ll want to keep your drunk karaoke photos private, but don’t hide your personality. Post pictures from the half-marathon you ran or share a funny article about a TV show you love.
Improve Your Profiles
Ready to dust off your social media profiles? You only need a few tools and a little time to get started:
- Get a reliable internet connection. Posting on social media, networking with recruiters, and applying for internships require a reliable internet connection. Make sure you have a reliable internet plan that meets your speed needs.
- Review your reputation. Want to see what’s posted about you online? Google yourself to see how you look online and remove any negative information you find.
- Update your privacy settings. Visit each platform’s privacy section if you want to make some profiles private or limit what the public can see.
- Add a professional email address. Make it easy for recruiters or employers to contact you. Create a Gmail account, using a variation of your name, and add that address to your social media accounts.
Social media has become a huge part of companies’ hiring processes. Rather than deleting or making your accounts private, use them to your advantage. Review your profiles, think about what you want your online persona to look like, and impress your future boss to land that must-have internship.
Cassie Tolhurst is a recent grad, freelance writer, and a wannabe world traveler. Her passions include the newest tech gadgets, what’s streaming on Netflix, and the latest rides at Disneyland.