Most, if not all, students have some sort of social media account, whether it's Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook. Social media can be a great way to connect with people and the world but did you know it could have a negative effect on you when you are applying for a position at a company or graduate school? Most hiring managers are not looking for negatives when they search for you. They are looking for supporting information to see if you are a good fit for their company. However, sometimes they come across things that would turn them away. So here are five things to keep in mind.


Hiring managers are more likely to hire a candidate if their social media site showed a professional image. They are also much less likely to hire a candidate that has inappropriate photos. Even though you might not feel it is inappropriate, why take the risk? Photos of you drinking or using drugs should not be public. You might say, “a lot of people drink, so what’s the problem?” It does not convey a portrait of professionalism and can easily give off the wrong impression. Next time you upload a picture, think to yourself; what would a future employer think if they were to see this picture?

Things You Say

What you say on social media can have an impact on whether you get hired or accepted as well. Things that you tweet about in regards to race, religion, gender, and political views could affect you. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions and views, an employer or school might not agree with something you say and that could lower your chances. Anything racist or insulting will more than likely end up being a definite no from whoever is reviewing your application. Bad mouthing of any kind such as a previous employer or coworker will probably lead to you not being hired. Things that you retweet on Twitter can also affect you negatively as well. Even though you did not say it, because you retweeted it, it means that you support it.

Background Information

Schools and employers will check to see your background information to see if there might be any other information that would support a possible hiring or acceptance. Even information such as your hobbies could work in your favor because those hobbies might be relatable to the company or school’s culture. They also like to see a candidate with a wide range of interests, so if you do a lot of appropriate and interesting things, put it on your social media.

Google Yourself

Next time you are taking a break studying, Google yourself and see what you find. Look at everything that come up including videos and pictures. If you see something you do not like, go to that site and take down whatever it was that you saw.

Make Your Accounts Private

The simplest way to make sure your social media won’t affect your potential hiring or acceptance is to make it private. Any social media profile can be made private. It's a good idea to not use your legal name or full name and change it to something else. Your profile doesn't need to include your real name. Many of my Facebook friends use a different version of their name on their profile. It is usually a nickname or they use their middle name as a last name. Of course many of them have everything private as well.

Hopefully these tips can help you be more mindful on social media so you can create a more positive and professional image of yourself.