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College Students: Clean Up Your Act on Social Media

If you are like most typical college students, you probably spend a good amount of time each week on several social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Some people aren’t extremely active on these sites, but if you are one of those people who constantly posts statuses, pictures and links; other people may be able to live vicariously through your social media. This isn’t necessarily a good or bad thing, but if you are hoping to obtain a job or internship, you need to watch how you portray yourself on social media. A recent study reveals that 9/10 employers will check social media profiles of job applicants. With these useful tips, you can clean up your social media and portray yourself positively while seeking a job.

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Facebook

For college students, the pictures on your profile are probably what you have to worry about the most. Having fun in college is important, but that “fun” doesn’t need to be plastered all over Facebook for employers to see. Below are a few features that you may find useful:

1) Reviewing posts: To edit your “review posts” settings, click on the wheel on the blue Facebook header (by your profile and home tabs). Select “privacy settings” from the drop down box and then “timeline and tagging” on the left panel. Make sure that “review posts that friends tag you in” is ON. This feature allows you review posts (and pictures) that you’re tagged in. If the post reflects you negatively or inappropriately, you can deny the post so it doesn’t show up on your timeline. It also prevents you from being tagged in the post.

2) Controlling who sees YOUR posts: Once you post something, it is online forever. Controlling who can see what you post is important because people do not necessarily have to be your friend on Facebook to see what you post. When you post a status or picture, you have a gray drop down tab labeled “friends” next to the blue post button. Here, you want to make sure that only your friends can see what you post, versus the “public” option. You can also customize who can see that post within your friends list.

3) Who and what you message: Often, employers will ask you to log into your Facebook account during an interview, asking you to show them around your account. If you have inappropriate messages, make sure they are deleted prior to your interview. In the case that an interviewer asks you to login, you want to make sure that everything you publish (regardless of who sees it) is appropriate. As a general rule of thumb, do not post anything on Facebook that you do not want an interviewer seeing.  The legality of this practice is still in question, and it is against Facebook’s privacy policy for a prospective employer to request your login credentials.  If this is a concern, it’s always best to know as much as possible ahead of time: do your homework.

Twitter

The best thing to do with Twitter, is to use it proactively to network with employers. You can do this by following professionals in your desired industry or by communicating with people looking to enter the same field as you. Mashable.com provides you with more ideas on how to use Twitter proactively in the professional field.

As a last resort, protect your tweets. Protecting your tweets prevents the general public from seeing them and/or retweeting your posts. If you have to protect your Tweets out of fear however, then you are probably posting things that you shouldn’t be posting.

It is extremely important to keep your social media profiles clean nowadays. Once something is put on the web, it stays there for ever, for possible employers to see in a matter of seconds as needed. So remember, if you are looking for a job, maintain a sense of professionalism on social media.

Oh, and I forgot to mention SimpleWash. If you don’t have the time to manually clean out your Facebook or Twitter profile, SimpleWash can do that for you in a short amount of time. Beware though, because it is a relatively new service and isn’t 100% guaranteed that all inappropriate information will be removed. You can access SimpleWash for free here.

Feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below or on Twitter

 

Paul Rinella

Hey everyone! I'm Paul, and I'm currently a freshman in Whitman and the iSchool. I am pursuing a degree in accounting, finance, and IT. Some of my free time activities include playing baseball, playing the guitar and piano, and watching the New York Yankees. I would love to study abroad in Hong Kong, and look forward to the rest of my career at Syracuse University!

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