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Stomping The Yard: Turn Down for What? Jobs!

Our college blogger Dr. Shanté Bishop shares tips for safeguarding your social media sites for job opportunities.
Credit: Thinkstock

Calling all college students!  Our new weekly column, The Yard, aims to help undergrads excel in their studies and social lives.  JETmag.com’s team of experts will show you how to get it done from the day you move into the dorms to the minute you step off campus for that first job. Submit questions and feedback for The Yard via talkback@jetmag.com.

College is where I spent some of the most fun, memorable, and adventurous days of my life. Step shows, parties, after-parties, road trips, homecomings, and I still managed to graduate a semester early with a solid “B” average. For the most part, what happened on campus, stayed on campus. But in the digital age, collegiate misadventures not only find their way “off-campus,” but across the airwaves. Unfortunately, being “turnt up” today, can cost you big opportunities tomorrow.

Insta-Sham!
Living out loud is nothing new for Millennials (age 18-34). Everything from “bored-selfies” to dinner plates have found their way onto social media sites such as Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram. Among college students, some of the most common postings feature underage drinking, illicit drug use, and skimpy outfits all in the name of being “turnt up.” And while it may provide an instant boost of confidence and bravado to get “likes,” “followers,” and social applause, the long-term effects can be devastating.

Even with “private” or “locked” accounts, there is no guarantee of privacy on social media. When images are removed, they remain on the company’s server for weeks, months, and sometimes, years! Furthermore, just because a picture isn’t accessed from your personal account doesn’t mean people haven’t “tagged” you in pictures from their accounts. There are dozens of ways to breach social media security. What was intended for viewing by a select few, can easily find its way onto the mobile and desktop screens of many others.

Turn Down for What?

Infographic courtesy of Undercover Recruiter

Infographic courtesy of Undercover Recruiter

In 2013, social media management company, Reppler, conducted a survey amongst hiring managers, and discovered that a whopping 91 percent of participants used social media networking sites to screen their candidates. A closer look at the data reveals that 69 percent of hiring managers rejected a candidate because of what they saw on the candidate’s social networking site.

What does this mean for college students? The unemployment rate for Millennials, is more than double the national average. Many college students believe that once they get a degree, there will be a job opportunity waiting. Nowadays, nothing could be further from the truth. There is fierce competition for jobs as college grads are matched against candidates who have more experience, larger skill sets, greater professionalism, and yes, social media profiles that don’t promote inappropriate material.

Protecting Your Online Rep
Safeguarding yourself on social media certainly doesn’t mean all work and no play. What it does mean is being intentionally careful about what you post and selective about who you let in your social media circles. Here’s a few ways to take action and ensure that “turning up” doesn’t mean turned down for future employment opportunities:

1. Google Yourself – You don’t want any surprises, so be proactive and find out what a potential employer might see when they go looking for you.
2. Clean Up – If you wouldn’t want an employer to see it, delete it. Set aside time to clean up your social media real estate. Be mindful of things such as alcohol, profanity, lewd poses, racial slurs, or questionable attire.
3. Check the Tags – If you’re tagged in posts without your permission, untag yourself or ask your friends and associates to untag you
4. Post Positively – Using your social media profile to spew negativity or argue publicly is a no-no. Instead, craft a more positive vibe and post pictures that show you volunteering or tutoring. It can be the difference between getting the job or getting “turned down.”

About Dr. Shante Bishop

Photo Credit: Jeremiah-Phinally Phocused

Photo Credit: Jeremiah-Phinally Phocused

Getting TO college is one thing; Getting THROUGH college is quite another. That’s why Dr. Shante’ Bishop offers strategic advice on being successful both in and out of the classroom. From catalogs to cap and gown, Professor Bishop shares what it takes to ‘Stomp the Yard” with confidence and clarity! You can follow Dr. Bishop on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.