Recently, Harvard University rescinded admissions offers to a number of students who had questionable social media presences. While it’s debatable whether or not this “should” have been done, the reality is that schools, employers, and even donors check to see who exactly is asking for an internship, job, or money for school. Our founders encountered a student recently who was having trouble funding her education through crowdfunding, and after speaking with a few alumni from her school, it was discovered that her facebook profile was what was giving them pause. Her pictures AND her posts caused one alumnus to respond “I don’t want her at my school. Why would I give her money?” After advising the student to either make her page private or take it down, she was able to complete her crowdfunding campaign and stay in school.
Potential employers, admissions offices, and donors are watching what you post online. Here are a few tips to help you present your best image:
- Google yourself. The first step is to find out exactly what others see when they search your name.
- Update your privacy settings. While controlling your privacy settings doesn’t guarantee your posts or photos won’t get out, it does make it harder to find them.
- Delete negative content. It might be too late if it’s already gone viral, but deleting negative posts and photos could still be beneficial to creating a positive social media presence.
- Consider your social media handles. Do you use your real name on Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts? Even if not, it can potentially be easy to track your account back to you. Make sure what they find isn’t objectionable.
- Push positive content. Do you have a LinkedIn account? Do you have public photos on your social media accounts that present a positive image? You want to control the narrative others see when they search for you.