Students: Consider what you're posting online will be visible to employers
Lately, students are being warned to clean up the content on their social media profiles since potential employers may research them before hiring. But what exactly is acceptable content? Also, are employers setting their expectations too high while selecting a young employee? In my opinion, I think it’s a mixture of both.
I agree, yes, students need to clean up their profiles a bit. No one wants to hire someone who has a dozen pictures of keg stands and whiney status updates. But I also think it’s ok to have a few silly pictures that contain alcohol and humorous status updates if that’s a part of your personality.
The trick is to have a wide variety of content so your profile doesn’t look like all you do is party. Also, really take a look at the content on your profiles and ask yourself, “What would my professors think about this picture or this status update?” Does your content really say “I’m a person who likes to have fun,” or does it say, “I’m a person who has way too much fun.”
For most of us, we grow and mature in college each year. What I have noticed is over the college years, the content we produce on our social media profiles becomes more mature. During our freshmen year, it seems cool to post risky content and pictures. Being loud and proud about our adventures is almost necessary in our passage into maturity. That’s why it’s important to clean up your social media profiles each year. The content you posted a year ago may have been funny or cool when you were a freshman, but now it embarrasses you. Take down all content that you feel doesn’t represent your lifestyle and personality anymore.
As for employers, I agree with their choice to research a student's online identity before hiring them. Employers have a brand to protect and social media profiles are a way to examine potential employees. However, I do feel some employers have really high expectations that should be lowered. College students will ultimately be college students. The amount we mature in college nearly doubles our first year out of college because we have more responsibilities. I do not think college students should be overlooked because a small percentage of their content can be considered inappropriate. As long as the student has a variety of photos and content, employers should be more forgiving and loosen up a bit.
Ultimately, the way employers hire is evolving. Using students’ social media profiles as a means to get a grasp of their personalities is ok. However, a student shouldn’t be completely judged by their content. Employers should use social media as a tool to help hire but not rely on it too heavily. In addition, students need to realize potential employers are checking their social media profiles before hiring. Cleaning up a few pictures and content could make a huge difference. Don’t be afraid to show your personality, but be aware of everything you are posting. The only way this ongoing debate will be solved is if students and employers find common ground and meet in the middle.