Most kids are out of school for summer vacation by now and if they aren’t enrolled in endless camps or other organized activities, chances are they’re looking for a summer job. Employers today, whether they are hiring adults, recent college grads or high school students, are looking to Facebook and other online profiles more and more to get a sense of people applying for jobs. Below are some tips for teens to improve their Facebook profiles and portray the best possible image of themselves to employers.
- Update privacy settings – it should go without saying that anything posted online by or about you should show you in a positive and respectable light. But it never hurts to ensure that your privacy settings are as secure and up-to-date as possible so that if an employer were to search for you online, they wouldn’t be shocked or put off by what they found.
- Update your “About Me” – while it’s fun to joke around with friends online and post goofy or inappropriate content, make your “About Me” section representative of the mature and articulate teen that you are.
- List suitable interests – if you list different interests on your profile, make sure that you include legitimate likes and dislikes, as opposed to goofy or inappropriate activities. Again, while it’s fun to post silly things, show potential employers that you’re well-rounded and intelligent.
- Make your relationship status accurate – while some teens jokingly put “It’s complicated with…” and list a friend, or say that they’re divorced from someone, this may not be appropriate in an employer’s eyes. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, feel free to include them in your status but don’t post something that someone else might not understand is a joke.
- Re-assess tagged photos – even though any photo of you online should be an image you’d be okay with anyone finding, some photos may not reveal teens in the best light. So detag or delete photos you’d rather a future employer not see.
- Clean up friends’ posts – you yourself may have a stellar online reputation but your friends may have tendencies to post crude or offensive material on other people’s walls. If you don’t delete these kinds of posts as they happen, make sure you go through and get rid of some past posts before you start applying for jobs.
- Avoid any bigoted statements – whether it’s a post or status from you, a friend or any other visible content linked to your profile, avoid seeming unprofessional, ignorant or bigoted at all times. It’s easy to post things online that may seem funny in a certain context, but an employer may only see certain statements for what they are.
- Brush up on your online communication – it’s easy to forget how to type out full words or sentences when constantly posting on friends’ Facebook walls or sending them a quick chat online. Review proper email formatting and language so that even if you’re constantly using abbreviations or specific online lingo, you can formulate smart and savvy email responses to potential employers.
Again, always remember that even if your Facebook profiles and other online behaviors are impeccable, it’s good to review your digital footprint every so often and make sure there’s nothing out there that could be used against you. These days, people’s online reputations can say a lot about them. And now, more than ever, employers are looking at sites like Facebook to get more information about applicants. If you go back and review your profiles every so often and make sure that you’re portrayed online the same way you are offline, you’ll do just fine in your summer job search!
What other ways do you encourage your kids to improve their online reputations?