At the Balkhi Foundation, we encourage our scholars before they apply to first jobs or graduate programs to improve their social media with these 3 simple tips for undergraduate students.
If you’re an undergrad looking to clean up your act online (without deleting all your social profiles) we encourage you to follow these quick tips. Also, if you’re a STEM student, we have a bonus for you – the one social platform you should join if you’re thinking about applying to graduate school.
Why Should I Update My Social Media Before Applying?
If you are an undergraduate student looking to apply for jobs or graduate school, you need to take a look at your social media profiles to make sure they show the best version of yourself.
Data from a Harris Poll (2020) and Kaplan Poll (2020) suggest that employers and University Admissions Officers are looking at social media profiles (like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn) before making a decision.
That means now more than ever you should think about what you put online. You do not need to delete all your profiles though. Instead, you can follow our tips below to create a social media presence that you want others to see.
Can Social Media Help Me Get Accepted to Graduate School?
For most students, your professional social media accounts are one of the few ways to share positive information about what you have done during your time as a student.
If you follow our tips to improve your social media for graduate school applications, you have the chance to create a powerful resource for potential mentors and school officials to see what you are capable of.
Tip 1: Decide on Your Personal vs. Professional Accounts
When you take a look at your social media profiles, make a list of which accounts you want to reflect your professional life and opinions and which you want to remain a private place for your friends and family.
You may decide to keep some websites where you talk the most about your work, like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram public accounts where you highlight what you have been doing recently. While others, like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube might be saved only for your closest friends and followers.
Once you’ve decided on which social media websites will be personal and which will be professional – update your privacy settings so that your professional accounts are visible and your personal accounts have privacy settings enabled.
Most importantly, review every social media website and make sure that your professional and personal accounts do not link back to one another in your bio.
Tip 2: Make Your Name and Photo Consistent
Next, take the time to select one professional headshot or photo and one spelling of your name and apply it to all your professional accounts.
Once you chose the spelling of your name (e.g. Dan Johnson, Daniel Johnson, Danny Johnson, or Daniel E Johnson), make sure that your selection is the same across every professional platform. This is especially important when you have a common name.
Making your name and photo the same across platforms helps admissions officers and potential employers know they are looking at the right person.
Make sure that you also switch up your personal profiles – having a different name spelling and photo on the accounts you want to keep personal.
Tip 3: Post What You Want Others to See
If you want employers and admissions officers to see your professional profiles when they google you, then you need to be active on these platforms.
Whenever possible, you should post high quality information about your accomplishments. You can announce your new internship or share your university’s post about your debate club. Whatever information you decide to post, make sure it show what you want others to see.
Remember, if you are not posting the information you want others to know about your accomplishments then there is a good chance they won’t see it!
Bonus Tip for STEM Majors: Join Professional Social Platforms
If you are an undergraduate STEM major thinking of applying to graduate school you should consider joining an academic social platform.
ResearchGate is a great example – it’s a great way to gain access and visibility to others in your potential field of study. ResearchGate has the added bonus of giving you access to publications from scientists in your field of study.
The Balkhi Foundation is built with goal of leveling the playing field through education – and we hope this article helped you to do just that. If you’re an undergraduate trying to improve your social media for graduate school or job applications we hope this gave you a solid start.