Like it or not, almost everything you do on the Internet is accessible and visible to everyone. Every post on Twitter about your current job, each status about political opinions on Facebook – all of it is free to see once it hits the Web. Unfortunately, this kind of conduct is also available for recruiters and hiring managers to view at the touch of a button.
No longer do recruiters based decisions on resumes and face-to-face interactions to establish a connection with a potential candidate. With the rise of services such as LinkedIn, your entire professional career – should you choose to participate – is easy to see and judge. Rather than fall into the trap of destroying your online networking reputation, look to avoid these common mistakes.
Bragging about life
All too often, people use social media outlets to boast about positive developments in their life. This isn’t necessarily frowned upon – celebration is very normal and accepted when something new and good comes along. However, individuals who constantly post about how wonderful their life is or how much they love their significant other may appear desperate for attention. If you’re happy, be happy. But there’s no need to be sharing this information across every platform just to get everyone’s attention on you. Keep the self-promoting posts to a minimum and only use them if the occasion calls for it, say a wedding announcement or – appropriately – a new career move.
Amateur email address
It’s time to finally retire your eighth grade email address that you made for fantasy football back in 2006. Any recruiter or manager looking to hire graduates is going to skip over a profile that lists the user’s email as “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Picture the inbox of a hiring manager and seeing that email pop up – it’s not even being opened but going directly into the trash folder. Now that you’re ready to move on to more adult endeavors, it’s time to ditch the childish email. Plenty of websites offer free email services that are held in higher regard (e.g. Gmail). Keep the name simple as well – your first initial and last name should suffice.
‘Facebook is safe’
Wrong, wrong, wrong – thousand times wrong: If you read news reports, you will know that Facebook has been hacked and sued by everyone under the sun, including for intercepting private messages for data mining purposes. Sure, they have probably revved up their security in the wake of cyber attacks, but it doesn’t mean your profile is safe and private. Facebook isn’t just a small-time website where you need a university email account for access – it’s become the premiere social media monster in the world. It’s total number of users would make it the third largest country on the planet, behind China and India, respectively. Believing that everything you say is only visible to people on your friends list is naive and dangerous. In the digital age, everyone has a voice and an audience. However, sometimes members of that congregation could be a recruiter looking over your social media presence. Be careful of what you say and who you say it to – you never know who is watching.
Quoting famous people
Celebrities can definitely be sources of inspiration and knowledge, but they shouldn’t dominate your social media. The downside of quoting celebrities is that it makes you seem like you lack critical thinking abilities. Instead of surfing the Web for other people’s thoughts or opinions, take the time to read into current events and post your own insights. A recruiter examining your online presence is more likely to be impressed that you’re providing a legitimate reaction to an event, rather than posting a link to the story and attributing a quote from John Lennon or Marilyn Monroe. It’s all been done – strive for originality in your online presence.
You’ve cleaned up your Facebook, fixed your immature email account and erased all traces of Gandhi quotes from your Twitter. But you forgot about cleaning up and polishing your LinkedIn account. Many college students looking for jobs or internships can be intimidated by the sheer vastness of the online professional network. But you can’t become one of the fearful individuals who doesn’t take advantage of such a valuable career resource. Taking the time out of your weekend or utilizing down time between assignments can help chip away at your profile and make your more marketable to recruiters. Remember that thousands upon thousands of students graduate every year in the U.S. You need to be able to stand out among them all to begin your career outside of college.
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