Social media mistakes college students should avoid
Be careful what you post online. Source: Shutterstock

College is a magical time. Finally, you have the freedom to do whatever you want away from your parents and teachers.

While college is the best time to let loose and discover who you really are, there are restrictions. In today’s digital age, our lives can be destroyed and reputations can be deeply affected by a simple Facebook photo or Tweet.

Even after deleting a post on social media, chances are there may still be screenshot saved somewhere, so you can never really escape from this bad decision.

It’s so easy to post everything you do on social media without a second thought, but this stuff can really come back to haunt you!

Employers, recruiters and even academic advisors tend to ‘research’ applicants and prospective hires by checking out their social profiles and looking for red flags.

According to Accreditedschoolsonline, “51 percent of hiring managers utilize Google to begin their research on candidates. 33 percent of employers reported finding content posted by candidates that made them more desirable for the role, while nearly one-quarter reported that social media posts “directly led” to candidates being hired.”

Not having a social media profile doesn’t really help either, as “5 percent of employers reported that not being able to find an applicant online would make them less likely to extend an interview.”

Social media is a great tool when used properly, and a professional-looking social media profile can actually help you land the job of your dreams.

But here are some common social media mistakes to avoid so you don’t miss out on future career opportunities.

Posting questionable photos and videos

An example of what not to post. Source: Giphy

It’s okay to share parts of your life online, but avoid sharing things that doesn’t paint you or your friends in a good light.

Even if you’re legally allowed to drink, posting many pictures of you in clubs or drinking doesn’t give a good impression.

To avoid getting others in trouble, also remember not to tag them in your photos if they’re doing questionable things, or just don’t post them at all.

This is the social media generation, and videos are fast becoming more popular than photos.

Here, the same applies – don’t post a video if you’re doing something illegal, offensive, questionable, or simply immature.

Not sure what constitutes a questionable post? According to The Conversation, these are the potential hazards: references to illegal drugs and sexual posts, incriminating or embarrassing photos or videos, profanity, defamatory or racist comments, politically charged attacks, spelling and grammar issues, as well as complaining or bad-mouthing.

Not using privacy settings

Have you checked your privacy settings lately? Source: Shutterstock

They are there for a reason, but a surprising number of college students don’t use them or know how to use them properly.

You can choose to make your Instagram or Twitter profile completely private so only those who follow you can see your posts. This way you can make sure people you trust can see your posts and not the general public.

But don’t forget that it doesn’t mean you still can post whatever you like,  as people who follow you can still take a screenshot.

On Facebook, you can change the privacy settings for each post. So make sure you double check your settings, as you may assume your profile is private but some posts may not be.

Privacy settings can change from time to time, so make sure you check if your settings are up-to-date.

Complaining about others

Social media is a great venting tool, we get that! But trash-talking others makes you look bad and insensitive.

For future employers, if they see you consistently badmouthing your teachers, friends, parents, or even an ex, it leads them to believe you will do the same should they hire you.

It can also burn bridges and prevent you from building solid relationships. Heather Starr Fiedler, Associate Professor of Multimedia at Point Park University, told Mashable, “You never know which one of your professors will hold the keys to the next great internship or job announcement.”

It can also hurt others’ feelings and can take the form of bullying if done to the extreme, so avoid complaining about others in a public sphere like social media.

Posting private details

Smart girl…

This one is for your own safety and privacy. Don’t make a habit of posting your address, phone number, or even specific location check-ins as it makes it all too easy for identity thieves or others to take advantage of your privacy.

You might consciously know that it’s wrong to be sharing your personal details, but overlook just how easy it is to do so.

For example, Communications representative Jennifer Newman Galluzzo, said, “This weekend my niece, who is going into her junior year of high school, posted her class schedule on Facebook. Took a picture of it and threw it right up there because she was so excited to share the info with her friends — complete with her social security number, student ID, address, full name, birthday and all the other personal information. I called her mom and informed her right away and her response was ‘Well, all the kids do that!’ I almost fainted.”

Keep yourself safe by not revealing confidential information.

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