How Social Media Can Hurt Your Career (Ch 1 from Light, Bright and Polite for Teens)

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How Social Media Can Hurt Your Career (Ch 1 from Light, Bright and Polite for Teens)

April 17, 2018
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Table of Contents

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Career (Ch 1 from Light, Bright and Polite for Teens) Light, Bright & Polite

Everyone has online results that create a footprint when someone searches for them online. This online footprint can shape your reputation—and your college opportunities—in ways you might not anticipate (until it’s too late).

Listen to this episode on our podcast:

Your digital footprint includes:

  • Every social media profile you’ve ever created (even if you think it’s private)
  • Every comment or picture you’ve posted or been mentioned in
  • Every other person’s posts who might share your name
  • Online discussions you’ve participated in/online groups you’ve joined
  • Posts from other people who have a similar name to yours
  • Your online footprint exists even if you’re not on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram
  • You can find your online footprint by searching for your name on Google and going through the first 5 pages of your results

This blog post is brought to you by Light, Bright & Polite

The Light, Bright & Polite books teach students how to be safe and smart on social media. With this book your family will be able to develop a social media plan to be safe and smart online. This book also teaches teens how to shine online to someday have a positive footprint that will impress colleges and future employers.[/su_note]

Social media mistakes in the news

According to new data, colleges and universities pay attention to what prospective students post on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. –US News
It's not that you shouldn't have a social presence. In fact, if you don't, employers will wonder why. The key to using social media is to express yourself responsibly. –Business Insider
How you present yourself both in person and online matters big time. –Fast Company
The social media mistakes that most people make aren't as extreme, but the results can be just as disastrous. –CNBC
Failure to understand just how influential and damaging social media mistakes can be will result in long-term damage and issues that inhibit growth. –Entrepreneur

Why should students care?

  • Everything you do online lives on in the public sphere, from your LinkedIn bio to your comments on Facebook to pictures you're tagged in on Instagram
  • College admissions officers and future employers will usually search for you online
  • People rarely will tell you online if your post offends them or raises eyebrows—but it will change their actions towards you in the future
  • People rarely will forget your stance on a certain hot-button issue

Common myths about social media and how it could impact your college opportunities:

  • Colleges and employers have access to my resume, education, experience, and talent—not what I do in my free time
  • My social media friends and I tend to have the same views on politics and other hot-button topics, so it’s unlikely I’m going to offend anyone. Also, I have the right to share this info!
  • My potential boss and I aren’t friends on Facebook, so she has no access to what I post (and no right to see it)
  • If I have a valid complaint about my school, it would be fake for me to hide it. I want to express my feelings online
  • I would never post anything about my school or employer, so my online activities don’t affect my career
  • No one’s complained about anything I’ve posted online, so I must be doing okay
  • I’m not into social media at all, so none of this really applies to me

What can students do?

  • Assume that everything you share online could eventually be discovered by your college and employer
  • Ask yourself if what you're about to post has a little positivity or gratitude
  • Audit your online image to find out what others might find
  • If your post could offend someone out there, assume it will, and do not post it
  • Use a healthy amount of caution when it comes to what you put out there for the world to see
  • It’s perfectly valid to vent (and you should have fun online). Vent via SMS/Text, call a friend on the phone or take them to coffee
  • It’s also OK to make fun of people, as long as it’s yourself. Self-deprecating humor can be fun, and employer-friendly

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