Students should be wary when posting on social media because potential employers might be watching, according to the Colorado State University Career Center.
According to Senior Assistant Director Lucinda Vanlnwagen and Associate Director Summer Shaffer, the National Association of Colleges and Employers encourages employers to use caution in using social media as a hiring tool, but employers do extensive background checks, so potential employees should be cautious to what they put online.
“It is always a good idea for job searching students to be cautious about their online image,” Vanlnwagen and Shaffer wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Students should regularly check their privacy settings to ensure that their photos and posts cannot be viewed by all.”
Vanlnwagen and Shaffer said there are many ways to clean up a social media profile for perspective employers, such as hiding or removing and photos or posts that look unprofessional or could be offensive.
“This should go without saying, but if there’s a photo of you passed out on your neighbor’s roof wearing a toga on your Facebook profile, and a potential employer sees it, it could hurt your chances of landing a job,” they wrote.
Students can also Google themselves to find any photos or other posts they may have been tagged in that are undesirable.
The Career Center offers appointments to help student’s clean up their profiles for potential employers, but Vanlnwagen and Shaffer said not many students come into to the Career Center and use that resource.
While students may lose potential jobs from damaging posts on social media accounts, they may be safe when it comes to being admitted to universities or receiving scholarships, according to Director of Admissions at CSU Melissa Trifiletti.
“We have not utilized social media for admissions decisions,” Trifiletti said.
According to Trifiletti, CSU only uses the information sent in with the applications, including transcripts, test scores, letters of recommendation and a personal essay.
Trifiletti said most scholarships are given based solely on GPA and test scores, specifically the common Green and Gold Scholarship and the Triple Crown Scholarship. Social media posts would not affect whether or not a student receives those scholarships.
While students need to be cautious of their social media use, Vanlnwagen and Shaffer said that social media can also be a tool in finding a job or connecting with employers.
“If used properly, social media can be a beneficial addition to a student’s job search process,” they wrote, stating that when connecting with employers through social media, the best thing to do is keep things professional and simple.
“In the age of social media, it is critical to catch a professional’s attention quickly since they are likely being bombarded with information,” they wrote. “Keep your message simple, concise, and polite.”
Vanlnwagen and Shaffer also recommended trying different social media platforms.
“The more ways you can connect yourself to other professionals, the better,” they said.
Collegian City Beat Reporter Sady Swanson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @sadyswan.