The Big 10 Mistakes College Students Make on Social Media

Not using privacy settings
Sites like Instagram and Twitter allow users to make their profiles completely private from those who aren’t following them, while Facebook allows members to customize the amount of information seen by followers and non-followers. Facebook is quite specific, allowing users to change the privacy settings for each item shared on a timeline.

Trusting privacy settings
Although privacy settings can reduce the risk of personal material entering the public eye, even these aren’t foolproof. Using the “Photos of” search feature on Facebook provides a look at the types of posts that can be seen—even with privacy settings in place.

Posting questionable photos
The best rule when it comes to questionable images is to simply not post them and untag any that others may have shared. Even if you are of legal drinking age, a picture including alcohol isn’t going to make the best impression. Save them to your computer, but take them off your page.

Using poor grammar
While it’s tempting to be informal on social media, remember that these platforms often serve as the first introduction to potential employers. Reverting to text-speak and endless ellipses may be fine in private messages with friends, but when shared publicly they can give off the wrong impression.

Complaining about your current job
Your current job may be awful and your boss may be the worst, but prospective employers only see you as a disgruntled worker. Even when refraining from naming the company, this type of behavior tells more about what type of employee you’ll be at your next job.

Retweeting/posting inappropriate materials
Many students feel it’s safer to post about controversial topics if it’s done via sharing or retweeting someone else’s words. While this may remove you somewhat, posting these types of things ultimately shows an endorsement of the sentiments or ideas expressed.

Complaining about professors/peers
Similar to criticizing a current job, complaining about professors and peers will not be seen in a favorable light. If you can’t respect them, what’s to say you’ll be able to work with your potential boss or colleagues at the job for which you’re applying?

Sharing confidential information
Offering too much information, or talking about details that aren’t yours to share, will be an immediate red flag to HR. With all of these mistakes, it’s important to remember that hiring committees look at social media behavior and transfer it to a workplace setting. If an applicant can’t respect privacy on social media, can they be trusted with confidential information about a company?

Discussing taboo topics
Although there is no hard-and-fast rule stating sensitive topics shouldn’t be discussed online, constantly writing or sharing posts about subjects like politics or religion can raise a few eyebrows. Especially if these posts show strong opinions, they may signal to employers that you are a combative employee. While it’s perfectly acceptable to hold beliefs about these topics, the workplace is meant to be a largely neutral zone and these topics are generally not discussed on the clock.

Not using social media enough
Just as some individuals overly use social media or share too much too often, not using social media can also be a red flag. Hiring committees want to see prospective hires engaging with others, sharing thoughtful information, and demonstrating a passion for their life. Being non-existent on social media can make you seem aloof.

POSTED: 08/06/18 at 3:17 pm. FILED UNDER: News, Schools