Digital First Impressions

Last week, I became conscious of how I am portrayed on the Internet. After my boss went to a webinar on LinkedIn and personal branding, I began to ponder what my social media sites said to future employers.
I read several articles on employers checking social media sites. Although none of the statistics are the exactly the same, they all say the same thing. Every article I read said that at least half of employers, most of the time more like 70 percent of employers, check potential employees’ social media sites.

With that being said, I’d say it should be a legitimate concern of ours to clean our sites.

First, go to your privacy settings and make it so that your account is viewable only to approved friends. You can choose to become completely unsearchable, but I do not think that is a good idea. The great majority of students exiting college at least have a Facebook, so if an employer cannot find you he or she may think you have something major to hide when you don’t! I think it is best to let them see your basic information so they can see how fabulous you are.

Now, we need to talk about profile pictures. I realize we are all in college and have lots of funny pictures. However, what does it say about you if the first picture your future boss sees of you is with three rounds of brews and a lot of intoxicated friends draped on your shoulder? You may say, “Well, it’s college! Who cares?” The answer: your potential boss. What boss wants his or her employee looking slammed on the Internet? That’s not exactly the best image to portray of the company, so don’t portray that of yourself.

Last, watch what you post. Unless future employers get fancy, they probably won’t see your status updates on Facebook, but many people’s Twitter profiles are left public. Posting obscene things on your Twitter is also not something a boss wants to be true of his or her employee.

There is a common saying that says, “Your first impression is your last impression.” While I find some fault in that statement (surely you can meet again), it also has some huge implications. First impressions do tend to stick, and in this career-searching time, do you really want to take chances with your first impression?

Resource: Netiquette/Personal Branding Tip Sheet

Paige Robinson '12
Career Center Intern

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