How Social Should Your Social Media Presence Really Be?

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By Sarah Evon

It’s no secret that the power of social media is rapidly increasing in our society today. It has veered away from just a Gen Z audience and has grown to include employers, businesses, younger generations, and yes, even our parents are learning to become active social media-lites.

As students, we all know that we need to monitor our Facebooks, Twitters, Instagrams, etc. when going through the job search process. It is inevitable that employers will be using all of the tricks up their sleeves to see what image we put out on more than just our resumes and cover letters.

As I’ve spent more time perusing the “careers” tab on the websites of potential future employers. Looking more deeply into the job search and what I want to be in the “real world”, I’ve noticed how important it is to be aware of my social media presence.

I’m a huge list-oriented person, so I’ve compiled a sort of “Social Media Goals” to-do list for myself. (And of course, it’s an ongoing list…)

  • I’m not Kim Kardashian – none of us are – so while I may “like” her Instagram photos, I’m not going to use her posts as a guide for my own. And by that I mean no selfies. Studies have shown that posting an excessive amount of selfies can actually damage your work and personal relationships. According to a joint study conducted by the University of Birmingham, the University of Edinburgh, and Heriot-Watt University, “increased frequency of sharing photographs of the self, regardless of the type of target sharing the photographs, is related to a decrease in attachment.”
  • As with most things in life, keep it positive. I’m not one for Facebook statuses or really sharing what I’m thinking via social media, but it is important to be mindful of what I’m “liking” on Facebook and Instagram and “favoriting” or “retweeting” on Twitter.
  • Lastly, because I know that potential employers can access my social media accounts, that doesn’t mean I have to limit myself on them. In fact, a goal of mine is to actually increase my social media presence, but in a thoughtful, creative way. As a communications major hoping to go into the advertising/marketing/public relations field, it’s helpful for my career to have a good presence on social media.

While this list is slightly personalized, I encourage all students to keep in mind your social media presence and how you appear to employers, as well as to your peers. Whether that be through a set of goals like me or another method that works better for you, like Nike preaches, Just Do It!

Saving Face on Facebook (and Other Social Media Sites)

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By Leah Peterson

A couple of weeks ago the L&S Career Services staff got the chance to meet with the founder of Social Assurity, a business that promotes proactive social media use in a way that helps students or job seekers by creating a social media presence that embodies their own personality as well as showcases their skills that employers and colleges are looking for. Having the chance to hear and ask questions about online personal branding really opened my eyes to what I should be doing with my own online presence and made me realize that some things I originally thought about Twitter and Facebook are not always necessarily true.

What I walked away with from this meeting are some important points that all college students and job seekers should know:

  1. Let your personality shine through online. Like or retweet pages that hold some interest to you. Post about things you enjoy doing. Make this online space a true insight into your character and remember to be authentic to yourself.
  2. Don’t overshare, especially if it’s complaining about work. Employers don’t want to see you whining about your coworkers and bosses and how much you hate your current job because you could do the same thing at their company. In general, it’s a good rule of thumb to not use your social media pages as personal diaries.
  3. There are numerous ways to become more noticeable on LinkedIn. Some of the ways you can get yourself to stand out is by putting keywords that describe you and what you aspire to be into your summary statement (so when employers search for these key terms, your page comes up). Join groups on LinkedIn to broaden your outreach to people with similar backgrounds and interests, and get those recommendations on your profile from classmates, coworkers, supervisors, and professors.
  4. Don’t erase your online presence, but rather build on top of it. So yeah, you can keep some of those drinking pictures (as long as every other picture isn’t of you with some sort of alcoholic beverage), but make sure to intersperse other appropriate, telling features about yourself throughout your page.
  5. Portfolios and resumes don’t have to be limited to original means. You can also take advantage of online sites or creative outlets like Instagram or Pinterest to showcase past projects you have done or your prior experiences.
  6. Networking can be done on sites besides LinkedIn. Social media sites like Twitter are actually becoming a big source for job seekers to reach out to the companies they’d like to work for by getting involved in online chats.
  7. Avoid a case of mistaken identity by making your pages easier to identify. While some cases can be cool (Googling my own name results in a motorcycle stuntwoman), others can be detrimental to the online image you’ve been trying so hard to preserve, like criminal records or inappropriate content. To help combat a mistaken identity, associate your name with more identifiable features, like tacking on “Wisconsin” or “Madison” or even something as simple as your middle initial to your name and page.

As a college student, you should be concerned about what sort of image you are putting out into the online world. Sure, some things you post may seem silly or irrelevant to what an employer may be looking for, but as long as it speaks about you—and that you’re proud of that image—don’t be afraid to put your own sort of brand onto what you post on social media sites. Jobs want to see your personality shine through on these platforms. Also keep these tips in mind when sprucing up your social media and have it be a source that displays yourself and work, rather than it being a reason for not getting offered that job.