Before you begin your job search, you should do a full audit of ALL your social media accounts. Before you think that no one is really looking or that no one can see your profiles, stop and think: companies have great IT people on their staff that may be better than you at viewing your profiles. Not to say that just any company would hack into your profile but just pretend they could—yikes! Even if you think your privacy settings are set to Pentagon Security levels, don't trust it. Also, just because you are not connected to a recruiter or future employer doesn't mean that someone at that company or someone they know socially isn't.
Here is a list of the 5 top things (in my opinion) that you should never have on your social media profiles.
I know if you went to the University of Michigan it is part of your culture to hate Michigan State, I get it. But is your bashing worth having a future employer who happens to have a daughter that attends Michigan State see your hatred? Probably not. And a side note, if I may, nobody cares! It is super annoying to have to read those rants when all I want to see is what everyone did this past weekend. Any rants, as far as I am concerned, are the worst, but I'll get to that later.
If you are a "mega" Democrat or Republican, keep it to yourself. Remember that the other party also make up a large sector of the population—don’t alienate half of your potential hiring pool!
Same goes for professors, with an additional point: they can help you get a job! Professors have connections and lots of them. If you want my advice, befriend all of your professors. For one, if your grade is teetering on a fraction of a percentage point, that may tip the scales for you. Second, when your professor goes to have coffee for a COI (Center of Influence) meeting with a recruiter from Google and they ask them if they have any students who would be a great fit for this incredible paid, traveling internship don't you want to be the person that they mention?!
I know this seems obvious, but you would be surprised. Who hasn't broken into their school's football field (high school or college) at night to do XYZ on the 50 yard line? You want to remember this fun night forever right? So take a video! That's fine—just don't post it, and make sure you have to approve all posts that your friends tag you in, in case your friends don't all read this article.
So, you skipped class to go the lake (errr, I mean had the flu) or you rescheduled your job interview to go to a spring training game (your grandma died). Again, that's fine (I mean really it isn't but I have better things to do than judge you) just don't post it!! I will never understand how people post stuff and then are totally surprised when someone sees it and they get busted. That seems super logical to me, but it happens ALL the time. I mean A LOT. I have even had it happen to me more than once.
Ok so you all know (at least I hope you do) that if you’re looking for a job, you shouldn't use a half-naked selfie as your profile picture, but it’s the "grey" area that I'm talking about. Don't post pictures of yourself flashing "gang symbols." Again, seems obvious, but I have a picture from my wedding where two people in my wedding party are flashing inappropriate hand gestures at the camera. My WEDDING! If you are anything like me you may be a bit naive about what means what. For example, I went on vacation with my family to Turkey years ago and the tour guide was giving us a run down on the culture. Apparently in Turkey, giving a "thumbs down" is the same thing as the middle finger in America. Well, my brother was in the bathroom and missed the tour guide's speech. My family later gets in a cab and my brother starts trying to communicate with the cab driver and asks about a local tourist attraction. He starts asking, "is it good or bad" because he wants to know from a local if we should go there. While he is saying this, he is gesturing thumbs up and thumbs down to the cabbie to indicate good and bad. Let's just say that I am happy to be alive and typing right now instead of in a back alley somewhere in the backstreets of Istanbul. The point is, just keep your hands quiet. Better safe than sorry!
If you are in college you may not have been alive when Jerry MaGuire came out, but chances are you have seen it at some point. (If you haven't, you seriously need to see it! So good, Cuba Gooding Jr. got an Oscar for it.) Selfishly, I cannot stand Facebook rants. I know it sounds mean but I don't really care about your overly emotional 150 word opinion about ANYTHING. People use it as a platform for getting things off their chest when a better place would be a blog or dinner with your mother (she probably cares). Luckily, Twitter only lets you have 140 characters so rants are not so common place there—it’s really Facebook where it is a problem. You do not want your employer to see that, because all they are visualizing is the future when you come into their office and waste their time ranting or complaining about basically anything. So that's my rant for the day.
If you happen to have any of the aforementioned crimes on any of your social media profiles, no biggie—just delete them. I would recommend having a 3rd party look at your profiles too, like your mom. Just because you think pictures of you playing beer pong are harmless (and maybe they are) doesn't mean employers will feel the same way. Look at it this way, if it something that you wouldn't want your Mom, your kindergarten teacher, or your future in-laws to see, just leave it off or delete it. You can download any pictures to your personal computer and take screen shots of all of your anti Michigan State rants so you will never forget the days of you "breakin' the law."
Written by Christina Church, Internet Recruiting and Social Media Specialist
2074562 / DOFU 04-2018
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Christina Church is a Financial Recruiter and Social Media Marketing Trainer with 15+ years of experience working with recent college graduates as well as senior advisors in the financial industry. She graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in Communication and received her Internet Marketing Certificate from The University of San Francisco.
Christina advises Financial Advisors and recent college grads on how to use social networks to build relationships and deliver value. She spends her time speaking, blogging, writing articles and training.
She has been known to spend her free time writing about herself in the 3rd person and lives in Phoenix, AZ with her husband, 2 daughters and a dog and a cat that could be for sale on any given day. She can be contacted by email at Christina.Church@NorthStarFinancial.com or by connecting with her on Linked In at www.linkedin.com/in/ChristinaChurch.