Posted on Apr 30, 2014 in Career/Life and News
Most KU alumni can remember the time when they applied for their first job after walking down the Hill. Years ago, the job application process included writing a cover letter, submitting a resume and, with any luck, receiving an invitation to interview. Your personal life was, well, personal. But that was before the Internet and social media.
Today, KU students are experiencing a new step in that process. Employers increasingly are taking to social media to vet applicants before deciding whether to extend an invitation to interview. Suddenly, that Twitpic from the Wheel or Facebook post from the Cave could cost you the job. I was recently invited to speak with KU students on the topic of how to manage your online reputation. Here are a few tips I shared with them.
Tip #1: Be consistent
We’ve all heard horror stories about incriminating antics surfacing on social media, but those situations are easily avoided with a little common sense. Future employers are really looking to see whether that impressively qualified applicant on paper is a completely different person in real life. On your resume, you’ll naturally include all of the specific attributes that make you a well-rounded candidate. Does your online persona reinforce that image, or paint a totally different picture? Be sure to promote your interests–both personal and professional–when engaging online so that your online image and reputation is consistent with the professional you aspire to be.
Tip #2: Be positive
Perhaps your passion is hard to hide, but recognize that not everyone shares your views on sports, politics or the latest scandal or controversy. More to the point, posts that include inflamatory remarks, foul language and a negative attitude can end up saying more about you than intended. Critical, disagreeable or argumentative posts can add up, affecting your image. Instead, take every opportunity to position yourself in a positive way, and you’ll stay above the fray, expressing yourself with grace and candor. Use social media as an opportunity to showcase your savvy communication skills and good judgement.
Tip #3: Be authentic
Finally, be true to yourself. In marketing parlance we refer to a brand’s personality as its “voice.” If you demonstrate your personality and your values consistently, then you have integrity. Share your interests, your activities and your outlook on life by using social media in a positive way that is consistent with your values. It might cause you to think twice about posting something to the world wide web that could come back to haunt you.
Follow these tips, and future employers will be sure to see the “real” you.