Social media can both help and hurt your job and internship search. Various surveys show that more than 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process (looking for the good, the bad, and the ugly). And let’s not forget, networking is an important part of your job and internship search process, so it’s never too early to make sure your online presence is solid and not going to affect you negatively. Here’s how.
Do a quick LinkedIn Review. Let’s start with something easy-peasy. You probably don’t have a ton of negative or embarrassing stuff floating around on LinkedIn, but, does it really show the best of you? Take a look at it through the eyes of a network connection or potential employer. Do you have an account but literally nothing on it? It only takes a few minutes to add in your education and recent job and internship experience. And if you don’t have a LinkedIn account, then your task today is to create one! Here are some tips on creating a great profile. Oh, and a LinkedIn Pro Tip: Did you know you can customize your URL? This will make sure you have an easy-to-read URL that you can pop on your resume to ensure people are looking at the right profile and not someone else!
Check your Privacy Settings on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You likely don’t use these accounts with future jobs and internships in mind, but that doesn’t mean a potential employer conducting a social media check won’t look! Visit each site and update your privacy settings to the level you are most comfortable with. Keep in mind that most employers aren’t scouring the internet looking for reasons NOT to hire you. In fact, most employers are looking for reasons to hire someone. So you don’t have to remove all social media presence (you shouldn’t!) but select the privacy settings that make you most comfortable.
Review all public content on ALL social sites. Take a stroll down memory lane on all your sites and think about what your posts and photos might say about you. Is it telling the story you want about who you are and what you value to potential employers and network connections? Great! You are good to go. But, if you see something that falls into the “seemed like a good idea at the time” category, but isn’t now, some clean-up is in order.
HAVE A BIT MORE TIME?
Now that you’ve cleaned things up a bit, consider strategically adding some content! You know employers are likely going to look at your profiles (especially LinkedIn) so use that to your advantage! Post about your upcoming job or internship search. Post about what you are learning in class and doing on campus. Post an article you read that you found really interesting and insightful. Better yet, post about the awesome 10-Day Job and Internship Challenge you are participating in (it will show your network you take initiative and put work into your personal development!)