Whether your young adult is graduating high school, gearing up for a summer job or internship, or heading out in to the “real world,” their online presence will matter to whoever is hiring them. A national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder found that the majority of companies will look through social profiles when hiring—and will likely be more suspicious if they can’t find anything. In fact, more than 57 percent of employers are less likely to interview a candidate they can’t find online.
And we’ve seen that the risks of a careless post or reckless tweet can be costly: some 75 percent of colleges preview a student’s online behavior prior to considering them for acceptance.
So now that summer is upon us, young adults should take the time to review their social media profiles because future employers and schools are looking at them. Parents, take note. And maybe even pass this list on to your young adult.
Create Your Professional Brand
In the world of online reputation management, one of the first steps is owning your digital real estate and creating your brand - professionally.
This summer, take the time to secure your online presence. We know most teens and young adults are on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, but have you created a LinkedIn profile yet?
LinkedIn has opened their virtual doors to teens 16 years old and up. This is an amazing opportunity for young people to interact with potential colleges as well as open doors to internships at companies.
We're all guilty of having that one oops moment of possibly endorsing a questionable image or comment, or maybe posting a less-than-appropriate picture. Take the time to “backstalk” yourself on social media. Scroll through your old Facebook or Instagram posts and tweets and freely use your delete button or click un-like on some of your youthful indiscretions. Does your seventh grade obsessions reflect who you are today? Maybe there are photos that are overly sexual or show yourself drinking or partying that you may want to eliminate.
There's also no harm in removing friends’ comments that are distasteful.
Boost Your Bio
Since most young people will be transitioning from high school to either college or into the world of employment, it's time to be sure your email address is professional, (say goodbye to ChillinBeanz[at]yahoo.com). Create an address with your real name, such as john.doe[at]gmail.com.
Create a strong bio for yourself that describes your passion for your interests, your goals, and any accomplishments you have already.
Select a profile picture that is appropriate. Keep in mind that most profile pictures on sites like Facebook are public. One survey shared that employers are looking at Facebook profile pictures before deciding to who interview. Although this may not sound fair, it’s happening.
Once you've created your new bio, update all your social media pages.
Deal with Online Hate
Many young people today deal with cyberbullying and online harassment. Sadly, it's part of the landscape of social media. It's important to be empathic to those that are being harmed and choose to be the upstander by never forwarding or engaging in hateful memes or posts or reaching out to those that are struggling by letting them know you are there for them.
How you handle digital discourse will say a lot about who you are as a person. Your online behavior is a reflection of offline character.
Tell Your Story
Build your own website. This is a great way to showcase your interests, awards, community service involvement, movie, and book reviews and even poems or other writings you to have to share. Blogger through Gmail or Wordpress offer free simple blog sites to get you started on a blog, or you can also start a free website on sites like Wix.
Share these posts on all of your social platforms including LinkedIn. It's important to encourage and engage in comments on your blog. Your responses will give readers an insight to your knowledge and interests. It's an excellent way to impress college recruiters and potential employers.
As your young adult starts to navigate the professional world, it’s more important than ever to start refining their online reputation. For some young people, this might mean redefining themselves online.. While you can’t redefine your young adult’s online presence for them, you can encourage them, and even take a moment to polish your own social media while you’re at it.