Social Media: The Importance of a Presentable Profile

It’s become a sort of a pseudo-folk tale around college communities, places in which many students are looking for internships or jobs, where the story, more or less, follows a standard format: kid uploads compromising photos, kid doesn’t plan on being searched online by employers, kid can’t land an interview due to association with said photos.

We’ve heard it a thousand times dude.  We get it.

To anyone who may think this concept is a no-brainer, you would be surprised at the things applicants leave on social media profiles- things that can get found by employers performing simple searches on the internet.

It’s an initial screening that won’t land you an interview, but can certainly prevent you from getting one.

Therefore, I strongly urge you revisit and reorganize your Facebook account if you find yourself in the midst of a job hunt. Your best bet is to make your profile completely private, so that non-friends cannot view your wall or photos.  At the very least, go through your photos and remove those that may be compromising. The common rule of the thumb; if your grandmother wouldn’t approve, leave it out.

And hey, don’t forget about Twitter. Be cognizant of your tweets.  Your potential employer might read them. Is a thought like “Final exam tomorrow… but let’s get schwasted #thirstythursday” worth releasing in cyberspace?

But I’m so funny, it got like six favorites and a kid on the hockey team retweeted me.

Doesn’t matter, just delete it. No tweet or Facebook post is worth losing out on a valuable employment opportunity. If you think it’s questionable, it probably is.

 I was totally kidding with that post though. They’ll know that, right?

You can’t foresee how an employer will react to the material they find associated with you on the internet.  If you do happen to land an interview, let your pre-interview correspondence with the employer (resume, emails, phone calls) “do the talking” when it comes to a first impression.  Try not to let them judge you purely on the information found on social media sites.

On a lighter note, employers are people too and likely had college experiences similar to your own. They aren’t going to send your resume to the shredder if they see some pictures of you at a party with a red solo cup. But if your social media account is littered with profanity-laced statuses or photos of you engaging in questionable behavior, hirers may be inclined to pass you over when scheduling interviews.

Most of your profiles are acceptable in their current state, so no need to panic. But if you want to be on the safe side, make sure they are set to private. It can’t hurt.

No employer will fault you for not having an open social media presence.

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Ryan Kelly

Ryan Kelly is a Health Science major in his fourth year at Northeastern University. His internship experience includes settings in academic research as well as a contract research organization.