Social Media Profile Checklist: What To Do Before The New Job Or Internship!

Posted by Leif Martinez - December 7, 2011 - Checklist, College, Facebook, social media - No Comments

January is a time for beginnings. For a student, it marks the start of a new year, a new quarter, and also marks the beginning of the hunt for competitive summer internships and winter recruitment. Yes, that’s right—five to six months before school is out, students begin scouring job search engines for that perfect position to add to their résumé. As a result of the increasing competition for those “hot” internships and jobs, students spend their time over break researching companies and updating their résumés. Due to the increasing importance of social media in the work place, students should think about adding a few new to-dos to their list.

  1. While updating résumés, consider updating social profiles to be employer friendly
  2. While researching employers, look up the company’s social media profiles to gain a little more insight into the company.
  3. Create a LinkedIn profile.

Because I was a student who used social media to job hunt and screen potential hires, I want to throw out a few social media tips for my peers who are trudging through the woods that is job/internship hunting.
Keep Your Profile Employer Friendly

According to Facebook, 800 million people are currently using Facebook. In addition, there are 900 million pages, groups, events, and so forth with which people interact on a daily basis. As the Facebook network continues to expand, so does the number of people who have access to our profiles and the personal information that we decide to share with the world. If you choose to keep your profile public, then you can assume that future employers will check it out.

My company recently held interviews for a new assistant and, after interviewing a number of candidates, we decided to peruse their Facebook profiles to get a feel for how they carried themselves outside of the work place. We work in a small home office, so it was important to us that the new hire be someone who was professional and capable in the work place, but also someone to whom we could relate on a personal level. Facebook profiles gave us the insight that we needed to make our decision.

The top three items that can cause employers to cross you off the list:

  1. Photos– The saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words” seems to be particularly appropriate when dealing with Facebook. Although I expect to see a red cup or two in the endless collection of tagged photos, a montage of photos of keg stands, shots, and beer bongs is a little excessive. We all have one camera crazy friend, but if you’re planning to pursue a career that requires you to be taken seriously, I’d recommend de-tagging these photos.  Or better yet, ask your friend not to post these types of photos on the Internet, period.
  2. Profanity– Status updates that are filled with a collection of four letter words are a turn off. You shouldn’t use that language regularly in public, and it’s not a good idea to use it regularly online either.
  3. Confessions – Posting your feelings about how much you hate your current boss, that jerk who used to be your friend, or how faded you plan to get that night is a terrible idea. I’m not stating that status updates must be work-friendly at all times (after all, Facebook is a personal profile), but it’s important to be smart about what you post.

Anything that might show you in a distasteful light probably will. If you don’t want to monitor your Facebook, change your privacy settings so that only your friends can see your posts and photos.


Research Employers

It is my opinion that the “right” job or internship should be a two-way street—students should have the opportunity to get as much experience from their jobs as the employers get from the students’ work. At this time in our lives, we should take advantage of the opportunities presented to us in the form of work experience and gain as much as possible from these opportunities. To make sure that we find the best fit, it is important that we do a lot of research on potential employers beforehand.

Beyond doing a Google search and checking out the website for the company to which you’re applying, see if the company keeps a Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn page. In addition to getting information about the company, checking these pages will allow you to get a feel for how big of a following the company has.  The company’s status updates and Tweets give you an opportunity to stay up to date with information that the company finds interesting and relevant. Some companies like it when prospective employees “follow” them because it shows that the candidate has initiative.  This can give you major brownie points during the interviewing process.

Join LinkedIn

I would like to give a special shout out to LinkedIn. LinkedIn is quickly becoming one of the largest networking sites for employers, employees, and applicants alike. If you keep your LinkedIn profile up to date, employers are able to access you in a bundle: not only do they see your virtual résumé, but they also see your achievements, professional reviews, and the people with whom you associate personally and professionally. You can even use LinkedIn to search for jobs and to have an immediate link to your future employer.

The key here is keeping your LinkedIn résumé accurate so that it matches the résumé you submit to potential employers. Failing to keep these two congruent makes you look inconsistent and can discredit all your hard work.
For my professional endeavors, I love what LinkedIn has had to offer. For my personal life, I love Facebook. Twitter combines the two in a succinct, at-a-glance kind of way. Social media can be a job hunter’s best friend if used professionally and effectively, and I encourage all of my peers to look into using it in this way by keeping these tricks in mind!

About the Author: Tyler Peterson

A UCLA senior, Tyler is gearing up for life in the “real world.” When she’s not writing for Jigsaw Social Media or hitting the books, she can be found gallivanting around Los Angeles searching for new sights, sounds, and tastes to try.

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