In my short time in the advertising agency life, there’s one thing I’ve learned that stands out among the rest: your reputation is everything. Similarly, the image you present to the public goes a long way.
With Camp Reality just around the corner and floods of applications coming through my email, I felt it was time to get down to business about something.
Believe it or not, employers do take the time to check out your social media. Having been a student no more than 6 months ago, I was always skeptical of this. I thought no one would take the time out of his or her busy day to stalk me online. Well, continuing the trend of things I thought I knew when I graduated, I was wrong.
Now that I’ve joined the Camp Reality leadership team, I’ve become the one that’s overly critical of social medias. I’m kind of a master at finding you online, as well as scrutinizing everything you’ve posted since 2007.
So with that in mind, I’m going to outline the top three ways you can clean up your social media as to not scare away your future prospective employers.
Watch your statuses and comments
When employers browse your Facebook or Twitter page, they pay special attention to the kinds of statuses and comments you have on your page. It says a lot about how you behave online. The theory is that your interview is a very polished version of yourself while your social media is a good interpretation of who you are outside of work. Profanity, complaints about employers or your job, sexist/racist or otherwise discriminatory statements are all red flags that cause employers to have to reconsider you as an applicant.
Take a look at your photos
When you have photographic proof of lewd or reckless behavior, it becomes an instant turn-off for employers. Facebook and Twitter photos depicting drug use, excessive alcohol consumption, full or partial nudity, vandalism, or any other destructive or illegal activities will cast you as a reckless partier rather than a seasoned professional. Don’t consider your Instagram a safe-haven for these photos either. Bar crawling might be the norm at your school, but it’s far from the norm in your professional environment.
Consider cutting down your friends list
Most employers aren’t going to care if you have 5000 friends on social media. That’s what it’s for, after all. However, it’s never a bad idea to go through and cut your friends list down to people you know and communicate with somewhat regularly. If there’s a friend who you think could make you look bad – either by posting incredibly obnoxious things on your wall or tagging you in old, inappropriate photos – then don’t be afraid to kick them to the virtual curb. We all have those friends that think it’s funny to tag you in the photos of you in comprising situations.
There are tons of things to avoid doing on social media that will drastically improve the way you’re viewed online, but you’d be reading all night if I went through them all.
Even though some of us had a rough time when we first started using social media (apologies to anyone that was my Facebook friend from 2007-2011), it’s never too late to turn it around for the better and give yourself a more reputable, personable online image.
After all, your reputation is everything.