Published on October 3, 2018, at 1:25 p.m.
by Reagin Edwards.
Whether it is said by your professors or your parents, you’ve likely heard the phrase “the moment it’s online it never goes away” at least once in your life. Having a strong presence on social media is crucial in the public relations industry. Now, more than ever, social media is a tool for aspiring PR professionals to help solidify their personal brands, grow their networks and stay up to date on the latest news. Although social media has many fun benefits, it also comes with a lot of serious responsibility that could easily affect your future.
According to a study conducted by The Judson Group, “39 percent of hiring managers use social media to look for questionable behavior and content.” Companies and recruiters will often use social media specifically to weed out unwanted candidates. They are able to use social media to crosscheck an applicant’s résumé to the things they post on their profiles for accuracy. When your parents tell you to be careful online, they aren’t just talking about shady websites; they are starting to prepare you for the outsiders looking in.
After conducting an informal poll on whether people should use social media as a platform to discuss controversial topics, I discovered that there are mixed feelings toward the opinionated social media user. Most people over the age of 35 felt that if a person on social media uses it as a platform to talk about controversial topics, then it should reflect negatively on them in the job search process. However, they agreed that if being vocal on social media was an industry requirement, then it shouldn’t reflect negatively or positively on a candidate.
People below the age of 35 felt that someone who is using their social media to discuss controversial topics shouldn’t receive backlash in any way, but should receive praise and positive reinforcement in the job search.
It is clearly a generational issue, which is to be expected as different generations tend to have contrasting views on modern media outlets and technologies.
The only thing these age groups have in common is that 85 percent do not use social media to discuss openly their opinions on controversial topics. At a time where everyone shares and records everything, even their food, this may come to you as a shock. Simply put, most people are well aware that what they do online must be carefully filtered.
This is not to say that people should remain silent on topics they care about. Companies look for professionals who are passionate about their field, and a lot can be said about an applicant who can be witty and knowledgeable within only 280 characters. You must learn to use social media to your benefit. If you learn to do this correctly, you can land an amazing job, and your employer can gain an amazing employee.
A Business News Daily article said that “44 percent of hiring managers found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate.” Especially within the public relations and communications industry, recruiters look for some creativity on personal social accounts. Professionalism, creativity and transparency can all be highlighted on your social media if you are smart about it. CareerBuilder.com suggests you “personalize your social media conversations, or start interacting with corporate social accounts.”
These are just some of the social media tactics to get you noticed by a recruiter. You never know … your next tweet could be the deciding factor of whether you land your next job.