Social Media: Friend or Foe?

(As published in the Ticker,

By Samantha Bendernagel, Peer for Career

We live in a world where the most fundamental tasks, such as conversing, paying bills, shopping, and even dating now take place online. Therefore it‘s no surprise that technology also plays a huge role in the job search and recruiting process. But while maintaining a presence online is essential in certain fields, we always need to be mindful of the image we create of ourselves. Recruiters may check our Facebook nowadays, so before leaving anything up to the discretion of our followers, we should ask ourselves, “Do I want potential employers viewing this?”  One inappropriate picture or tweet could be the deciding factor that prevents us from obtaining an internship or job, so why take the risk?

For those who bask in the self-expression that is social media, do not panic! There are ways to successfully utilize social networking websites, such as LinkedIn, to build a respectable reputation as well as form professional relationships with potential employers and colleagues.  For example, you can demonstrate an interest in your field by being a member of industry associations and sharing related news with the community.  You can also post your attendance at club events that relate to your major.  So that you can obtain more information, the Starr Career Development Center is holding workshops on October 2nd that focus on creating a professional social media presence.  The takeaway is simply this: social media can both benefit and inhibit us based on how we utilize it, so think before you type and mind your privacy settings.