Throughout college, and even in high school, I was given constant reminders to be careful about what I posted on social media. Despite these conversations, what really stuck out to me were the horror stories I heard of people who faced serious consequences for their actions on one of their social media accounts. One particular story that really stuck out to me was a guy from my hometown who got drafted by the MLB, only to be dropped because of his use of the word “n*gga” on Twitter. Although I know this word is a derivative of a very offensive word, I never considered it to be too bad because of how much it is mentioned in music and even some normal conversation. To me it had pretty much turned in to another word for friend, homie, bro, etc. But even still this word cost someone the chance at a career in professional sports, despite his talent.
However, as I’ve been in college, instead of getting even more fearful of my social media use, I’ve actually embraced it even more as a way to set myself a part from the masses. As Brooke mentioned in her post, “1 in 3 employers who search for their candidates on-line have come across content that has strengthened a candidate and made he or she more qualified for the job.”
My experience as a senior in college pursuing a job in a creative environment, social media is something that should be embraced. I’d even go as far as saying that my Instagram and Pinterest are my creative portfolio, and I’ve encouraged employers to visit my sites in hopes they’d get a deeper sense of my personal style and personality. I believe that being transparent with employers makes a bold statement that I have nothing to hide, and I expect them to thoroughly research me on social media. And from their research I hope that I am able to distinguish myself from other applicants and bring myself to life in a way that my resume cannot.
These sentiments are only confirmed by Undercover Recruiter when they said that they “believe hirers are trying to get a more personal view of a candidate, rather than the resume-like view they will see on LinkedIn.”
If I am looking for a creative job, my style and taste is even more important than my prior experience or GPA. Giving employers access to my ‘portfolio’ helps determine whether or not I would be a good fit for their company, before I even come in to interview.
So instead of being fearful of how your social media use might affect your job hunt, embrace it. Think of it, instead, as a way to enhance your chances of being hired as you distinguish yourself from other candidates and build a digital presence that is truly representative of who you are and what you are all about.
And for the record, I do have a job lined up for after graduation – and it’s one that I am extremely excited about.