Remember the painful days of writing and perfecting your resume? The required document that represented you and your educational and professional accomplishments and experience all on a neatly formatted single page? The one you proof read 96 times to make sure every period was in place and all of the proper dates were aligned to be aesthetically pleasing to the reviewer? The ticket to hopefully getting you an interview for the position you aspired to fill?
As my grandparents would say, ‘those were the days.’ The goal was to brand yourself and represent your relevant experience and education in the best possible light. You could pick and choose all of the best pieces of your background to contribute to your professional masterpiece that served as an air-brushed magazine cover on the script of your life’s experience. I’m pretty sure every person reading this knows or has hired someone in the past who completely misrepresented themselves in their resume- I know that I personally hired people who didn’t quite match up with what the resume said. But…those were the days. The days where prospective employers picked up the phone and called your listed references to double check and confirm your resume’s claims about your skills, abilities and achievements. Employers had only the resume and references to rely on to make a professional judgement about whether a candidate would be a good fit for their organization.
Fast forward to 2014, almost 2015. Are resumes much for than a formality now? Consider this article about why your social media profile is really the new resume.
And, this one (http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/5297-social-media-hiring.html) from Business New Daily entitled, “What Social Media Can (Really) Tell You About Job Applicants”. In the article, it states that employers research applicants’ social media profiles to help them make hiring decisions.
Whether or not this is a good practice, the bottom line is that it’s happening. No one wants to hire someone who posts inappropriate photos, uses bad language or is critical of or mean to others.
So, parents, as we move into the New Year, this is a great time to have another conversation about how ‘sticky’ your child’s social media profiles are. Remind them of a few things that will follow them around and make their way into their future employers’ and college recruiters’ searches:
1. Posts should always be positive because they are also public.
2. Don’t post when you’re mad or upset. Write it all down on paper, scream into a pillow, do whatever you need to do- but don’t put it online.
3. Be nice. The age old saying still applies, probably more than ever: ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.’
4. You are your brand. Make sure that every single thing you posts reflects you in a positive light. Vulgarity? SO not cool and doesn’t make others think you are remotely intelligent.
5. Do not allow your friends to post pictures of you that you don’t give them permission to post or that don’t portray you at your best. And, do the same for your friends. Ask before posting something with others in the photo.
6. When most birds tweet, it sounds melodious and happy and uplifting. No one wants to hire the bird that squawks or dive bombs others.
7. Be smart- make your profiles private. Turn off your location services, and don’t take photos with addresses and easily identified places in the background. Mentioning that you are bored and your parents are out of town is not the brightest. Protect your privacy with a vengeance, because it is all you really own.
8. Popularity does not equal number of followers or number of RTs. If you don’t personally know a follower, get rid of them. Many teens don’t want to make their Twitter profiles private because that limits who can ‘re-tweet’ their posts. But, if your Twitter profile is not private, anyone in the general public can see your posts. Like other parents, teachers, administrators, coaches, recruiters and prospective employers. (By the way, if at this point in your conversation with your tween/teen, you are getting eye rolls and several, “I know Mom” comments, pull out your phone and look up anyone you can think of in their class who might be on Twitter. Show them what you see – they don’t think you know how to do this- or that anyone else’s parents do either.)
9. And for heaven’s sake, do not post any picture with drugs or alcohol. Seriously? I see this every day, and still cannot believe kids do it. It is not impressive to see an underage (or legal for that matter) person swigging from a beer bottle. Not now, not ever. (I’ve never seen a good photo of myself with a beer bottle in my hand. A glass of wine? Maybe- lol- but certainly not to be posted online!)
10. I hate to even mention this one because it seems so obvious. But, sexting is absolutely not appropriate for any reason, ever. It will get out and it will get distributed. Check out my previous posts for more of the dangers on this if you missed them!
So, the nice, pretty piece of well-formatted fluff we used to call a resume? If someone wants to see who you really are, they aren’t going to stop there. Your social medial profiles have become a significant portion of your overall resume and can make or break opportunities for school, scholarships, college, organizational memberships and employment. This wasn’t the case for us- but it sure it for our kids. It’s on us to make sure they realize they start writing their permanent resume the minute they are on social media.