Be Purposeful in Your Posts

May 26, 2015

If you’re a high school or a college student and you’re getting ready for summer, you’re preparing for a focused sports or arts camp, a fun summer camp, your first internship in a field you’ve always wondered about, unprecedented travel experience, some well-earned down time at the beach or hiking, or if you’re lucky all of the above. A big theme that runs through all of your summer experiences is interaction with others. Cornerstone Reputation encourages students of all ages to use the ever-evolving smartphones, new watches, and tablets to capture their amazing summer experiences, contributions to the world, and positive interactions with peers with their tech devices and share them publicly across a range of platforms such as YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. By doing this, students are ensuring that when undergraduate admissions officers, graduate school admissions officers, and future employers search them online, they will have first-hand encounters with the inspired things students did this summer.

We have a new idea for how students can be thinking about the tech that is already thematically woven into their daily lives. Don’t hide yourselves! Make yourselves easy to find online so future gatekeepers can get a sense of how great you are in your everyday life rather than just on paper or during an interview. These will help you stand out from the crowd:

  1. Think conscientiously and strategically about the personal content you are making public-facing on your social media versus the content you’re only showing friends.
  2. Change all of your social media settings so that every post you make appears only to you. After you’ve posted, think about if you want to make that post available to a greater audience then chose ‘friends’ or ‘public’.
  3. Start and cultivate a LinkedIn page where you can routinely add new experiences and skills you develop during your student and summer experiences.
  4. Ensure your public-facing social media and LinkedIn profile photographs look like you. You want to make it easy for employers to identify you on LinkedIn so they can find you quickly and easily.

Remember though that it’s not all about you! Make sure you’re supporting others online as well; whether it’s a cause you care about or a peer who has accomplished something really unique. A great part of social media is getting to applaud others and in doing so, hopefully inspiring more people to hop on board with their ‘likes’ and retweets.

Most agreed that an individual's presence and interactions on social media are excellent indicators of an individual’s character and how they interface with others in everyday life

Our surveys of admissions officers and research we have done with professional recruiters show that they all believe character to be of utmost importance when considering a candidate for admission or for a professional position. All agreed that how positively an individual interacts with others is extremely important. Most agreed that an individual's presence and interactions on social media are excellent indicators of an individual’s character and how they interface with others in everyday life (not just when they have their interview hats on).

So slow down this summer. Kick back on your porch and take some time to be purposeful about how you’re interacting with others on social media and what accomplishments you want to share with the entire world on the web. Remember that every piece of new technology and online platform that comes your way is a privilege. They represent an opportunity for you to share your character, aspirations, and accomplishments with people who someday will be deciding whether or not to invite you into their communities. And they will almost certainly will be searching you online.

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.

Written by

Carolynn Crabtree

Carolynn Crabtree is a Princeton University alumnus and the President and Cofounder of Cornerstone Reputation, an educational company committed to empowering students through tools and knowledge that help them understand the impact of their online presence to ensure the time they spend online contributes to a positive reputation in today's digitally interconnected world.