Social media posts could come back to haunt you

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They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what are your pictures saying about you?

Today’s generation lives revolve around social media. People posts about our friends, family, pets, adventures, food, the list is endless. However, are these social media posts causing more harm than they are good when it comes to future career opportunities?

The way this generation presents themselves online says a lot about the type of people they are. It shows who they hang out with, how they spend our time, what their likes and dislikes are, and even what others say about them. With access to so much information about a person just by a simple Google search, it’s important to be aware of what you’re posting, because some companies take social media accounts into consideration when looking to hire someone for a job or internship.

Kristina Rosa, a producer for the show LA Daily on SiriusXM, says looking at social media accounts are important to her because it shows a person’s ability to be creative with a limited amount of characters.

“I look to see if the person is active daily or at least a few times a week, how the interaction is with articles or direct tweets, if the person only complains, or gives insightful feedback on articles or about a tweet,” Rosa said.

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Twitter is one social medium that could be used to either help or hurt a potential job candidate depending on how they use it. Lila Carney, the Director for Advising and Student Development in the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University, believes Twitter can be very effective if used wisely.

“Twitter has a lot of potential for students in career development. It’s a great resource for looking for jobs,” Carney said. “You can tweet at a company and a lot of times somebody will tweet back at you. If a company is highly competitive, showing that you follow them on Twitter, that you liked their articles, that maybe you’ve written your own stuff and that you’ve tweeted that at a company, I think goes a long way. There’s a lot of ways that students can help themselves stand out to employers on social media that goes beyond sending in a cover letter and resume.”

Carney also believes there are more beneficial ways to positively represent yourself on social media.

“Using LinkedIn effectively is probably the best social media for students in terms of just kind of putting out there what their professional social media presence will be,” Carney said. “Whether that’s sharing articles, reacting to things, commenting on other people’s posts, following people that they’re interested in, connecting with people that they’re interested in networking with. I think LinkedIn is a great social media for students.”

According to research done by CareerBuilder, most employers aren’t trying to find anything negative on social media to prevent you from getting the job. Sixty percent are actually just looking to find that the candidate has the qualifications they’re looking for.

In an anonymous survey of over 20 Quinnipiac University students,  43.5 percent said they prefer Twitter over any other form of social media. Instagram tied with Twitter also bringing in 43.5 percent of students.

Created by Kayla Hevey on Google Forums

Created by Kayla Hevey on Google Forums

But when asked Do you consider what future employers will think when you’re posting on social media? 4.3 percent said no, they don’t even think of it.

Created by Kayla Hevey on Google Forums

Created by Kayla Hevey on Google Forums

When looking on social media, employers are looking for a few different things. According to USNews.com, they’re looking for information that supports that candidates qualifications for the job, the professionalism of the persons online persona, and what others are posting about them.

Sam Morales, a sophomore at Quinnipiac University said she doesn’t consider what she posts because she knows it’s nothing bad. However, she’s always aware of how others are portraying her.

“Other people can post pictures of you and it can be seen on your account,” Morales said. “I’ve been tagged in pictures with my friends who are over 21 that had drinks in them but I just make sure I untag myself so it’s not associated with me through my account.”

What others are posting about you could also be something to consider. You may have a clean social media reputation, but it doesn’t mean your friends do. It’s important to be cautious of what you’re being tagged in, because that’s also something employers can see.

Rosa believes that posting the wrong content on social media can definitely negatively affect the way you look towards an employer.

“It can hurt if they are applying for a tech internship or job if their social media doesn’t show anything about that. Also it can hurt if they only post about partying or only post about relationships but they are not applying for a job that fits that,” Rosa said.

“I think that employers know that this generation is known for posting things that could be inappropriate and companies don’t want the liability of taking on someone that may be posting things that are terrible or embarrassing to the company,” Carney added. She believes that if you’re posting something, make sure it’s something you wouldn’t mind your grandma seeing.

With the negative connotation that’s around social media these days, some people think this generation is addicted to it, it’s a distraction, or people can’t live without it. Now, this may be true for some, but social media can also be very beneficial when it comes to branding and promoting one’s self.

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Paul Caracciolo, a graduate student at Quinnipiac University, sees social media in a different light now that he’s taking graduate classes in public relations and social media.

“It’s a distraction and addiction to look at your phone as much as people do. I for one have a big Twitter addiction,” Caracciolo said. “But, to me Twitter is more branding than it is social media because of how brands interact with people and how people brand themselves.”

In addition to Caracciolo, Mikey Zukswert graduated from the Quinnipiac University School of Communications in 2018. He also agrees that social media sites like Twitter and Instagram can be used to promote what one has to offer.

“I definitely use social media, Instagram specifically, to showcase my work and what I can create. Being in the film industry, this is really important,” Zukswert said. “Because Instagram’s purpose is to share videos and photos, I like to use it to do exactly that. I’m able to show who I am as a creator and what skills I have to offer and Instagram is a public platform to do so.”

Based on student’s responses, they’re frequently posting on social media. It’s the times we live in nowadays, many say it’s hard to remember life before Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and the many other sites that are offered to us.

When Rosa gives advice to her interns, she suggests “to stick with a theme for social media and figure out your passion. If it’s about dogs and helping animals, post about that, but if you really want a job about entertainment then post about topics that are pop culture related.”

Sticking with what you’re passionate about can show your dedication and knowledge of your career goals.

In terms of if that’s a good or bad thing, “I personally think there is so much more beneficial stuff out there in terms of careers or resources for me and students when it comes to social media,” Carney said. “I think it far outweighs the bad stuff.”