It’s a well-known fact that every graduate needs to get their social media profiles in shape before they start applying for jobs, but have you thought about the effect social media could have on your college applications?
Many students assume that their social media profiles are way beyond the radar of their chosen schools during the application process—after all, admissions staff are busy people. But that doesn’t mean that someone from your prospective college won’t see your Facebook page, or couldn’t scroll through your Instagram before you arrive for orientation. It may be an admissions advisor who takes a sneak peek at your profile, but they aren’t the only people who might be interested in finding out more about you when you’re applying to colleges, and other potential students could be just a click away from your most embarrassing photos before they even meet you.
So how can you get your social profiles college-ready without scrubbing every bit of personality out of them? After all, social media should first and foremost be about communicating with your friends, and sharing your favorite moments with them. The last thing you or your college want is for your profile to look like a dry and dusty resume.
We asked Hult’s resident social media team how they would get their social media profiles college-ready without going overboard. Here are the three quick and easy steps they came up with:
- Figure out what’s important to you, and then highlight it on your most frequently used social media profiles. If people don’t know you particularly well, social media is a great place to show them who you really are. Don’t be afraid of keeping a few silly pics—if they show off your personality they can be a great addition, provided they are mixed in with posts and photos that show off the things you have worked hard on, and want to be known for.
- Think about your audience. Just because something works on Snapchat, it doesn’t mean it is right for Instagram. Be clever about where you put certain posts, and ask yourself who you want to see them. Ask yourself if you would mind a teacher you admire seeing a post. If you would, then you probably shouldn’t be putting it online—we all know these things can come back to haunt us.You should update your profile regularly with content that suits the platform. That also means using each platform to build up your overall online presence–not replicating the same posts across all of them. For example, you could add what you are hoping to study to your Facebook “About” section, feature related photos on Instagram, and follow and retweet professionals of interest on Twitter. This way you will create consistency in your social presence, without sounding like a robot.
- Try a bit of self-stalking. Googling yourself can be a useful way of filtering out any of the bad images, unfortunate posts, and awkward chatter you might have left online on your way through high school.
This is also a great chance to get rid of any expired profiles you might have sitting dormant. An inactive Tumblr account on a particularly random topic, or a halfway set up LinkedIn profile doesn’t really do you any harm, but clearing these lingering remainders of former lives sharpens up your image, and will give you greater control of your online presence in the future. If you want to hold leadership positions on campus, a clean internet history will undoubtedly be on your college’s wish list, so get rid of anything that is unfinished or unused. Do this before you get caught up with classes and you will find it much easier to manage your social footprint from then on. This also has the benefit of ensuring that your future achievements will have greater visibility in search engines—perfect preparation for a stellar four years in college and beyond.
It isn’t hard to get your digital presence in great shape. Focus on getting your profiles up-to-date, highlight meaningful topics, and make them relevant to who you are right now rather than five years ago. Just remember, whatever networks you use, you should always sound like you—so don’t over-edit yourself. Professional doesn’t have to mean impersonal.