Ever get tired of hearing other generations complain about “the millennials'” constant presence on social media? At some point, it definitely seems like most of us have started tuning their advice out whenever it starts, as the usual lectures from professors and advisors all seem to echo the same thing. This generation is extremely comfortable online, which does have many advantages. However, what happens when Social Media Prevents You From Getting Hired, or even worse, causes you to get fired? Do you really think changing your Facebook name to be just your first and middle name will prevent a future potential employer from finding your account? It won’t. How about setting your Instagram and/or Twitter to private? That won’t help either.
So, rather than make you feel constrained by telling you to just not post anything fun or personal, I’m going to share three tips on how to make social media work for you when it comes to getting accepted to your dream school or hired for your dream job. For another view on this, check out: Signs Social Media is Blocking You from Jobs
- Yes, you do need to delete anything/everything offensive. How can you know if something is actually offensive or just personal to you? Try this: Imagine someone who had never met you before, has no idea about how you grew up, what your sense of humor is like, or what your general lifestyle habits are, coming across that photo/tweet/post/status update. Would they think you’re a crazy partier? Irresponsible? Rude? Immature? A straight-up jerk? If you even hesitate on any of these, it needs to be removed. A great example of this is a picture of you smiling holding a puppy. None of those questions would even make sense. That’s exactly how your social media presence needs to be: unquestionable, yet positive.
- Do post more of your good strengths. Do you enjoy volunteering? Are you gifted musically? Post about it! Employers love hiring diverse employees. They love it even more when they feel as though they have discovered a diamond in the rough. Whether or not it’s entirely deserved, every other generation seems to have exceptionally low expectations for ours. If you are willing to put in the very small amount of conscious effort it takes to exceed those, your job outlook has already vastly improved.
- Stay positive. This last point cannot be stressed enough. Between the news, online media, our own lives, and the lives of others, negativity is rampant in our culture. If you can maintain a happy, non-combative, genuine presence online, you’re already separating yourself from the bunch. Everyone loves a happy person. Why? It makes you happy to be around someone who is positive. Happy employees are better for the organization internally, and externally in business. How can you show you’re one of these stellar people? Don’t use Twitter as an outlet to complain about how your waiter took too long on bringing you your food. Don’t post angry status updates to Facebook about your crazy on-again-off-again ex. If someone else attempts to engage with you online in a public debate, disengage and privately message them instead. Do post happy updates, even if they’re small. Apply the age-old rule of: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” and try your best to resist venting online.