What College Students Should Know About Social Media

These days, almost everything gets posted on social media. Every social event, every embarrassing fall, every bad hair day—they get posted on the Internet for the world to see. Staying smart on social media is a concept that many students misplace. Knowledge of social media and its influence on your future is valuable, because contrary to many beliefs, there are great advantages to students utilizing social media as well.

With almost everyone having some sort presence online, and many not properly aware of the best ways to showcase that presence, things can get messy fast. The big thing to remember when in college is that your social media presence matters. It might have influenced the admissions advisors who approved your application and it may influence potential employers for the rest of your life. You could be a stand-up citizen with amazing grades and wonderful people skills, but if you appear one way online and another way in person, employers may begin to wonder how well you actually might fit in with their mission.

Why students should craft a positive online persona

A positive persona on social media can sometimes help you land a job or an internship. You could find yourself recruited by a potential employer through LinkedIn, for example (someone who probably took a peek at your other channels as well to get an idea of your character before reaching out). Even if you make connections at a career fair or through other avenues at your school or in-person events, chances are these people will check out your social channels, so a glowing image could help boost your resume up the list. Having a positive image online may show that you are aware of the world around you and know how to properly handle yourself in an environment where nearly anything is allowed.

How students can positively use social media

It can be smart at some point during college to begin constructing a professional image online. Consider following news channels and public figures relevant to your field of interest, which will show you are interested in more than just the social aspects of the world. Some people choose to set up a professional Twitter account, for example, to follow and post things relevant to both their career path and current events. Also, in addition to Linkedin, there are various portfolio sites geared toward networking in specific fields. These types of sites could be focused on art, writing, research, or another discipline, and give you a platform to showcase your experience and skills while networking with potential connections.

It can also be helpful to maintain a professional presence on other social networking sites, like Facebook and Instagram—places you might not typically think of as professional social media opportunities! There is no need to completely shy away from sharing various posts and photos with your friends and family, but simply making sure that content is appropriate and representative of the online persona you’d want employers to see is what’s crucial. Little things like this can pay off big with potential employers who may be comparing your resume to others. Plus, this is another opportunity to share articles that are relevant to current events and your desired career field, further emphasizing your readiness for entering the workforce.

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Remember the positive side of social media and how proper usage can work to your advantage; think of your online profiles as a sort of resume or glimpse into the things you think are important. This could be the first thing potential employers know about you and your character, so make it a good first impression. In the end, college life will be some of the best days you experience, but just remember to think twice before posting, because your online actions could affect your future opportunities.

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