A frightening number of articles and blogs online are advising students that their social media presence will damage their chances of scoring the job of their dreams.
The New York Times published a piece written by a ‘millennial computer scientist, who writes books and runs a blog’ and who claims that social media has a high chance of hurting your career and that is why he has and never will create a Facebook account.
He goes on to complain that social media is just a ‘collection of somewhat trivial entertainment services that are currently having a good run’ and that anyone who believes social media is a well-equipped professional tool is extremely deluded.
For some reason, this professor chose to skip the obvious fact that the evolution of social media has created thousands of jobs and career opportunities for the younger generations once they complete their studies.
In 2014 Facebook alone claimed to have created 4.5 million jobs around the world, adding $227 billion to the global economy. The study by Deloitte stated that new job titles like social media marketers; managers and online brand developers are all due to business’ feeding off the exposure Facebook has provided them.
Not to forget that Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, Pinterest and LinkedIn have all become important aspects of any growing successful business.
Ryan Mobilia is a perfect example of how social media is one of the strongest tools we can use for our professional career. A qualified social media and communications educator, Ryan’s job is to help students and professional athletes create a positive and impactful social media identity to strengthen their career goals and opportunities.
Without social media, his job would not exist.
“Social media is the easiest way to show future employers your personality, interests and skills. These are three key things you want them to see, as it’s showing what you can bring to the job without looking rehearsed or staged, like your resume or interview may come across as.”
The majority of students use their social media for fun and Ryan emphasises that this is totally okay, but it is important for University students to remember that once they start applying for jobs and internships, employers and recruiters will always observe their social media to try to gain a better understanding of who they are.
This means that if you don’t want these people to see you having a blinder Sunday sesh with the caption “work’s gonna be hard tomorrow,” it is highly recommended to put your profile on private.
Do not assume however that by having your accounts on private you are stopping people from looking or restricting yourself from job possibilities.
“The profile picture, the cover photo and the bio are the three key elements when making your profile both natural and professionally appropriate at the same time,” says Ryan.
According to a study done by Psychological Science, it only takes 40 milliseconds for people to draw conclusions about you, all by viewing one of your pictures posted online.
This means these three basic elements need to be perfect.
- A profile picture should be a neat clean photo of your face, wearing appropriate attire with smiling teeth. This represents confidence and how you like to portray your public image.
- The cover photo should have a theme that you believe is a good representation of you. A picture with your on a night out isn’t frowned upon, but why not use the cover to represent one of your interests or successes to create a more interesting profile that they can discuss with you at a future interview.
- A bio, on the other hand, is all words, so keep it short and sweet about who you are. You want your profile to come across natural not robotic. Linking any public media accounts or blogs that you would like people to see will show you know how to represent yourself in a variety of medias and you are also confident to show off your achievements or opinions.
With the majority of workplaces having some form of social media presence employers no longer feel the need to be secretive or cautious when observing candidate profiles.
“Possible employers may want to add you on their business’ social media and then you will have to make the decision as to whether you ignore or accept the request, and obviously if you want the job you will accept.’
Connecting on social media is simply another form of contact between you and your future boss and should be a great way to represent all the positive qualities you would bring to the company.
Of course, you don’t have to accept their request but Ryan adds that by not accepting, you are automatically causing them to question your suitability for the job.
“If you don’t allow them to view your full profile the first thing they will think is why? What are they trying to hide?’’
As students you are allowed to have photos of nights out and having fun, employers are not likely to believe all mid-twenty-year-olds are staying at home studying. The key is to ensure not every single photo is of you partying or being heavily intoxicated.
Ryan advises that the best way to care for your profile is by cleaning it up as you go along.
“Who knows what you might miss and when you’re applying for jobs you don’t know when they will be checking up on your online activity, there is no point risking any photos, comments or likes slip through the cracks.’’
Ryan’s final point comes back the ill-advised article featured in the beginning. Students are expected to be on social media so not having any accounts or just existing online can be just as damaging.
“Be smart; use social media to showcase the best of you. That is what it’s there for. It would be crazy for students who have grown up online to not use these opportunities to their advantage.”
For further information or advice check out Ryan’s website www.ryanmobilia.com