Alright, College Seniors, Here's How to Impress Potential Employers

College Seniors, It's Time to Start Cleaning Your Profile

There’s an old adage, “Don’t judge a book by its cover” that parents teach their children when they’re young.  It’s a good message and something we should all strive to live by.  Unfortunately, in the digital age, especially when it comes time to look for an internship or a job, that great piece of advice is rarely followed by employers who scour social media to find out all they can about potential employees - especially recent graduates. So, college seniors, listen up!

I often tell students that what they are essentially doing when they post online is creating their own personal brand.  Employers are savvy enough to understand that if potential employees don’t represent themselves well online, they probably won’t represent their company and their company’s brand well online either.

So, what’s a college student to do when it comes to cleaning up their social media before they start sending out resumes?

  1. Clean up your language. 61% of employers react negatively to a prospective candidate when their online profiles are littered with profanity.
  2. Don’t share anything too personal. This includes your feelings about sex, race, religion, and any type of discrimination or politics.  18% of employers react negatively to posts about politics and 26% to posts about religion.  I don’t think I need to expand on why you wouldn’t want to talk harshly about the opposite sex or those of different races or cultures.  Remember, you never know who is looking at your profiles and is in a position to make a decision that can affect your future.
  3. Be very careful about the photos you post. 47% of employers respond negatively to images of alcohol consumption, 78% don’t like references to illegal drugs and 66% view images or posts that are sexual in nature (this includes images that show both full and partial nudity) as a no-no.
  4. Don’t complain about past jobs or former employers. This tell potential employers that you have loose lips and they should expect you to complain about them or their company since you did so in the past.
  5. Be authentic. If it’s on your LinkedIn profile, it should be on your resume and vice versa.  Your online life and your offline life should match.
  6. Don’t bully. Even if you were just joking – remove any post that could appear harassing to anyone or any group.
  7. Check your posts for spelling and grammar errors. While adult decision-makers understand that text-speak has unique spelling and grammar rules, that doesn’t mean they like to see it.  Your poor use of spelling and grammar tell employers that perhaps you don’t really know how to spell or you don’t actually know how to properly construct a sentence.  54% of employers and recruiters react negatively to spelling and/or grammar errors on social media.

So, before you start sending out those resumes to get that great internship or job, make sure that you clean up your social media accounts.


Sources:  Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey


Julie Fisher, M.Ed., is the founder of The Social U and consults with schools, organizations and individuals through the MJ Fisher Group.  

Twitter: @Julz Fisher, @the_social_u