College Students: Be Careful What You Blog

By Sarah Wright


Your Online Presence is Part of Your Job Application

For better or worse, the potential employee Internet search is now pretty much a standard part of any job application process. Whether you want it or not, your prospective employers are probably going to search out your online presence to find out who you are and what you're all about. We all know that we should be careful about what we put on Facebook - if you're in the habit of putting pictures of yourself on your profile, you should cut that out as soon as you start applying for jobs. But your online presence likely comprises more than just a Facebook profile.

If you use Twitter, Tumblr or other online personal-sharing platforms, you should think carefully about how easy they are to connect to you. It may seem unfair to judge someone based on their online presence, but it happens all the time. It's entirely possible that a poorly-edited blog could have negative ramifications for your career. Here's our advice for how to manage an online presence that emphasizes aspects of your life that you might not want to share with an employer.

1. Delete it!

Look, we know you're having a great time in college. We were all there once, too. But as you get older, you're going to grow and change, and you'll probably want to distance yourself from what you thought was socially acceptable at age 20. Why not just delete anything that could make you look irresponsible and immature? You'll have less to worry about when you think about what a hiring manager might find when they look you up online.

2. Make it impersonal.

If you don't have the heart to delete accounts that might seem incriminating, you should do your best to make them difficult to tie to you directly. If you've put your first and last name or other identifying details on the account, you should remove them. Pictures with your face in it should also be removed. You should probably do your friends a favor and remove any personalized presence they might have as well.

3. Add a disclaimer.

We can understand not wanting to change who you are to satisfy a potential employer. It's not the smartest course of action here, but if you really refuse to change anything about your online presence before applying to post-college jobs, you can at least add a disclaimer to your blog or Twitter that explains that this is something that was important to you when you were in college, but that you have other priorities now. Something that gets the point across that you aren't planning on skipping work the way you bragged about skipping class in college.

If you want a good example of a polished, professional, education-related blog, check out 2000 Hours.

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