Social Media: An Employer’s Reference
Pretend, for a moment, that you have never actually met yourself. You are an owner of a prosperous dog-sitting company that has a reputation for serving customers with the highest level of professionalism. You market your company with the promise that every dog will be cared for by responsible, respectful employees who will give the dogs the very best of care. Because of that promise, you attract many loyal customers and you try to take extra care when you hire new employees so you find someone you can trust who will be reliable and mature enough to do the job. When you receive a number of applications from students who want to work for your company, you immediately go online to try to learn more about the potential candidates. When you Google your name, what kind of information do you find?
The term “social media” refers to the ways in which people create, share and exchange information and ideas online and through networks. It’s a form of social interaction that more and more employers are tapping into to get a sense of who the people are that are applying to work for them.
Now return to your present perspective and think about what you have shared online. Is your name attached to the photos of you dancing on the table at last weekend’s huge spring break party? Is your face recognizable in the video your friend posted of students who are underage and under the influence? Such images might cause an employer to immediately throw out your application. That’s why it’s important to construct your online presence with care and make use of the privacy tools that many social networking sites provide.
Here is a list of five of the most popular social media websites used by many students and a brief explanation of what they offer:
Facebook: Allows users to create a personal profile, add other users as friends and exchange private and public messages. Facebook currently has over one billion active users.
Twitter: A micro-blogging site that enables users to send and read “tweets,” which are little text-like messages that cannot exceed 140 characters. Twitter has over 500 million registered users and generates more than 340 million tweets a day.
LinkedIn: A social, yet professional networking site for people in professional occupations. LinkedIn has over 200 million registered users.
Pinterest: A pinboard-style photo sharing website that allows users to create and manage image collections according to a theme of their choosing. Pinterest has about 12 million users and is growing fast.
Instagram: An online photo-sharing and social networking service that allows users to take pictures and instantly apply digital filters to them. They can then share the finished product with the 90 million other monthly users.
These are just a handful of hundreds of other sites that share information in similar ways and provide your potential employers with a chance to judge you based on what they see online. It’s time to refine your online presence and ensure you are presenting the best possible picture of yourself to the world.