Social Media, the mega cultural phenomena, is changing the landscape of how we communicate, work and live.  No generation feels this more acutely than our current Gen Z teens. They have literally grown up with phones in their hands! Because of this, teens today can barely remember life before Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Musically, Twitter, etc. It’s a life of posting anything on a whim. But this type of random posting can negatively impact them as they venture out into the real world.

Pictures speak louder than words

Never has this been a truer statement than on social media.  Because your social media accounts tells viewers so much about yourself; your accounts become your own personal “brand”.  Social Media can help paint a picture of the kind of person you are, your interests, your likes and dislikes and how you spend your time.  In this day and age, if you think prospective employers (this includes internships and colleges) aren’t googling your name or searching for you on social media sights….you would be very wrong!

The facts don’t lie!

According to Forbes, a third (34%) of employers who scan social media profiles said they have found content that has caused them not to hire the candidate. About half of those employers said they didn’t offer a job candidate the position because of provocative or inappropriate photos and information posted on his or her profile. Additionally, 45% said they chose not to hire someone because of evidence of drinking and/or drug use on his or her social profiles. They also cited noticing rude comments on profiles that included, bad mouthing previous employers, making discriminatory comments related to race, gender, or religion, or lying about qualifications.

Don’t shy away from social media!

Employers expect you, and even want you to have social media accounts. If they can’t find you on social media, it may be a red flag to them.  Activity on social media shows that you are relevant, connected and tech-savvy. So the important thing here is, as you embark upon your job search, is to make sure that your social media accounts are working for you and not against you!

Here are 3 tips on how you can make your social media work for you!

1. Private Accounts

Make sure any personal social media accounts where you are sharing pictures or information that you may not want prospective employers to see, are private accounts.  Consider posting these types of images & comments to your private account:

  • Red solo cups
  • Provocative pictures of scantily clad people (no bikini , beach or booty shots)
  • Pictures of you or your friends participating in risky or silly activities
  • Political or social rantings that may deter a prospective employer from wanting you to be on their team. 
2. Create a professional social media page.

This is a great way to display the strengths and attributes that would be helpful for prospective employers to see.  LinkedIn is great for this, but you can also create this on other social sites that may be more teen-oriented. This site might contain a nice, clear headshot of your smiling face.  Be sure to include pictures of you and your friends engaged in activities that represent you. Post images of you being involved with:

  • Volunteer work
  • Community service
  • Sports
  • Clubs or professional groups

Also, be active in professional online discussion groups and connect with like-minded groups and people. If you are on Twitter, make sure your tweets and retweets are appropriate and not derogatory. 

3. Do create a Passion Page.

If there is something you are passionate about, create a specialty page that highlights your passion! Prospective employers like to see teens who are passionate about something and who dedicate their time to cultivating that passion. For example, if photography is your passion, then create a page that highlights all of your photographs. If it’s theater that’s your calling, create a page which highlights video clips of your various performances. Or if climate change is your cause, then create a page with information, photographs, and events you’ve attended.  You get the idea…

Social Media can really be an awesome tool, but it can also work against you. So be sure to post appropriately! Manage your social media accounts and make a good impression! It will not only help you now on your job search, but as a result, will have an important impact on many other things in your life, including college admissions, and future career opportunities.

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