Social Media Matters to Professionals, and Students

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If you’ve been around the blog for any time at all, I’m sure you’ve seen me talk about the importance of having an online presence that you control as part of your professional life. We’ve talked many times about how putting forth a professional, knowledgeable, image into the online world would be the best thing that recruiters, or hiring managers could see when they, inevitably, try to find out more about you.

Today, I want to talk to you about your kids though.

Turns out, that it’s not just hiring professionals who are looking at online profiles, but college admissions folks are doing it too.

Most admissions departments look at social media as another tool in their arsenal to evaluate students during the admissions process. Some schools told me they regularly use students’ social media in their evaluation of potential candidates for admission while others said that while they don’t use it for most students, they do however use it for some. Interestingly, every admissions representative in the room said they want students to connect with their school via social media if they are really interested in the school. Connecting with the school lets them know that the student is a serious candidate. This is a double-edged sword though because they all admitted that by connecting, students open up their profiles to the school and the schools have an open window into the kind of person potential candidates are in their actual lives (not just the lives they portray on their applications).

Now for those of us who’ve been around the technology for awhile, this probably comes as no surprise. I’m going to repeat what I’ve said about job seekers, if someone is going to look you up online as part of your job or college application, you’d better have put some serious thought into what they’ll find. It matters. It can be the difference between getting into your first choice school, and getting bumped by a similarly qualified student who worked at cultivating a smart, professional, online presence. A negative impression could rule you out completely. The article specifically talks about posting anything related to illegal activities, but again, if it’s coming down to a choice between two students, have you considered what your posts say about you?

There’s more good information in the article above, so if you’re going to be applying to schools, you may want to head over and think about some of the things they mention. (Note- I especially like the idea that if your essay is all about your volunteer experience, it’d be nice if your online profiles actually showed you volunteering.)  Admissions offices may not look at everyone’s profile, but they clearly are looking, and your profile may be next.

This article also gave me another thought about the social networks kids are choosing to use, and why, but in the interest of not being marked as TL;DR, that post will be coming tomorrow. 😉


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