In a recent post here at Blogging4Jobs, I asked for your best advice to college students on managing their social media.
I got good feedback from recruiters and others on the need for students to realize that what they post online today will greatly affect their future employment opportunities.
My presentation a few days later to some 150 students at The Ohio State University went very well.
The students were very engaged, despite the fact that I was the only person standing between them and Spring Break. (They inspired me to write about spring break tips for students to manage their reputations.)
REAL EMPLOYMENT CONSEQUENCES
The key to the students’ engagement, perhaps no surprise, is that I focused on the very real consequence for their employment.
In the beginning, I asked how many were currently seeking a job. About a third raised their hands. Then I asked how many would be looking in a year, two or three, which raised most hands.
To that I showed a slide with “91%” on it. That, I told them, is the percentage of employers who, in a 2011 study by Reppler.com, said that they used social media in screening job candidates.
GOOD NEWS, BAD NEWS
I told them there was good news and bad news from this study. The bad news is that 69% said they rejected a candidate based on social media findings. The good news is that 68% said they’d hired a candidate based on social profiles. (The same employers might have rejected or accepted candidates.)
I asked the students to guess the reasons in each category and they did well. For rejection, it was inappropriate photos and posts, discriminatory remarks and poor communications skills, among others.
For accepting applicants, the reasons were, among others, presenting a well-rounded person, showing a positive personality and qualifications and strong communication skills.
CLEAN UP ONLINE IDENTITY
This seemed to gain their undivided attention for the rest of the program, which focused on specific online strategies for cleaning up their pasts, safeguarding their current and managing their future posts. When I finished and dismissed them, I offered to answer questions. The majority stayed and asked strong questions.
I had given the students a Twitter hash tag to use and their Tweets reflected an understanding of the importance of their online reputations, which was pleasing. Given that it was almost Spring Break, my favorite Tweet was from a woman who said she was “Glad she showed up for class.” Now, I hope they put my advice to use and begin to seriously manage their online identities.