Social media can be a great way for students to connect personally and professionally. If you're in a field that uses social media, you should think about having a consistent, positive presence there. Here are some tips for creating a strong personal brand on social media.
- Social media is more important than you might think when it comes to job prospects. According to the Education Advisory Board, 94 percent of employers use social media in candidate recruitment and 43 percent of employers who used social media did not hire a person based on finding negative content.
- Your behavior online defines you ... in fact, sometimes people only know you by your tweets or posts, so that's the only impression they have. Don't troll (AKA be kind) and try to keep an overall positive appearance. Don’t subtweet or get involved in arguments over social media. The best rule to follow is to take a deep breath and understand the potential results before reacting and posting something online. Ask yourself: “Would President Gee post this?” If the answer isn’t quickly a “yes,” then don’t post it.
- Highlight the good stuff - especially if you're at an internship, working hard in class, volunteering, etc. That stuff is gold!
- If you want tips for creating specific posts, click here for a checklist to produce the perfect post.
- This may be obvious, but once you post something, it's there forever (even if you delete it). Remember: the screenshot is the world's greatest and worst tool.
- Pick the right profile photo. Choose one that shows your face ... People find it much easier to engage with someone who uses their own photo in their posts than another random image.
- This one's going to come as no surprise, but keep the swearing to a minimum. Don't include posts about drinking, smoking or other illegal actions. Watch what you share, too. Even if it didn't originally come from you, a retweet or even a like can associate yourself with a negative situation. Basically, don't bring social media to the party ... sometimes it's OK to just enjoy the moment and leave your phone in your pocket/purse.
- Your bio should make sense ... Use it to give people an understanding of who you are in just a short space. Think of it as your first impression. If it's a One Direction song lyric, it may confuse a future employer or mentor.
- While it's important to create a positive reputation on social media, it's also great to have a personality to add to your personal brand. Don't be afraid to showcase your favorite personality traits ... being funny, for example, can go a long way to making you feel more relatable to your followers/friends. A 50/50 ratio between personal and professional posts is a good mix.
- In related news, make sure you're proud of what you post. Even if your accounts are private, there are ways people can find this information, so don't think that completely absolves you.
Develop a LinkedIn profile and update it frequently. It’s your online resume and can help you when it comes time to apply for an internship or job. Add projects and honors to build your profile into something stronger.
- Connect with potential mentors. Don't be afraid to get in touch with people you look up to. Social media can be a great place to build some connections that could eventually lead you to your first job opportunity.
Include relevant #hashtags and @mentions to join in conversations (not just with friends but with industry professionals, businesses, etc.).
- Remember that you represent your school, your organization and yourself at all times on every one of your social media accounts.
- Maybe all the stuff above scared you a bit? Well, it's OK. If you're a good job candidate in the first place, just be yourself. It’s OK to have fun on social media.