For some students it may be difficult to understand how things their online posts can affect their future opportunities. As parents and educators, it’s important that we teach students from an early age that what they post online and on social media matters. Just as saying something negative offline can have serious repercussions, saying similar things online (even anonymously) can lead to serious repercussions as well. Sometimes teens feel like they can post something online that they wouldn’t say in person because they feel like they can remain entirely anonymous. However, everything you post has the ability to stay public forever and anonymous posters can be almost always be identified.
So, we asked 5 experts to share different ways that students’ online posts can impact their future and their favorite tips students can use to shine online.
1. Try to remove old and bad media
Bruce Cameron, LA Talk Radio’s Concierge Coaches
Make sure your LinkedIn is the present and best reflection of who you are right now. Your online footprint is the yardstick by which many are measured. Clean up your Facebook and Instagram. Social media bios index on Google. Clean up your Twitter and your Twitter media. You may want to hire a firm to remove slanderous material, but remember, it takes a long time for that material to disappear.
2. Employers seek out applicants online
Crystal Olivarria, Career Conversationalist, @Crystal70k
Every post a child shares online reveals qualities and characteristics that may not easily be discovered during interviews. Since there are so many questions employers cannot legally ask during an interview, they seek out applicants online to find out more about candidates. Employers know everyone puts their “best foot forward” during interviews and employers are curious about the types of people who are applying for their jobs. Therefore every post your child shares has the potential to persuade employers to hire your child or to eliminate them from the pool of applicants.
3. It’s better to report beliefs privately
Laura MacLeod, LMSW, From The Inside Out Project, @FTIOProject
Potentially exposing your pictures at the bar or even the beach may negatively influence future employers or school administrators. Social media posting for the purpose of getting a job or applying to college should be minimal. Employers do not want workers who spend lots of time online (implication is you may be online when you should be working). Employers also do not want to hire someone who will get into political, religious or other fractious debates online (nobody wants to invite conflict). Reporting accomplishments may be ok, but online in social media, this may look like bragging. It’s better to report beliefs privately.
4. Avoid having a negative attitude online
David Levy, Edvisors Network, @DLevy818
About a quarter of scholarship providers are currently reviewing the online presence of finalists. Some providers require finalists to ‘friend’ them. Students should clean-up their social media accounts of anything offensive or illegal from websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
An unprofessional online appearance can cause a student to lose a scholarship, since scholarship providers may worry about their winners reflecting poorly on the organization. Seventy-five percent of scholarship providers are looking for signs of bad judgment such as, provocative photographs or remarks, illegal activities (drug or underage alcohol use), discriminatory remarks or a negative attitude.
5. Keep your photos family-friendly
Justin Lavelle, PeopleLooker, @PeopleLooker
Colleges and future employers can and do check your pages, so think before you post last weekend’s party picture. Photos of hobbies, family, friends, outings, and sports activities are all fine to post, just keep it clean and family-friendly. Once a photo is posted, it is a permanent footprint for the world to see and anyone can lift a photo to do as they wish with it. Limit who can see your photos by using privacy controls on all of your social media pages. There’s no need for every social media user to have access to your photos.