8 Social Media Mistakes New College Grads Make

by Gerry Moran

Do you know the social media superpowers hiring managers expect from recent college graduates? Are you guilty of any social media mistakes that you could fix? Are you aware of how your social media accounts may cost you your job?

The pressure is on for college graduates, Gen Z, and some Gen Y job seekers! Hiring managers expect you to be a social media expert—someone who can immediately help their business because of this “superpower.”

Remember, 70% of all employers research job candidates on social media before they hire.  Candidates have even been rejected for certain behaviors, Career Builder reports.

Hiring Managers Think You Will Be a Social Media Expert

Are these expectations scary? Even if you are not applying for a social media job, the expectation is still there. Do you know how to write a Tweet or a LinkedIn post for your business unit? Can you address a business problem with social media tools or strategies for your team? Do you know how to use a blog to communicate or advertise? Of course, it is scary. Your Marketing 101 teacher only taught you (or knew) so much, and that’s if you even took an advertising or digital marketing class. Now is the time to connect your social media savvy with the potential job.

I’ve been a hiring manager for over 30 years. I’ve hired for award-winning ad agencies, IKEA, HBO, and SAP, to name a few. I lead social media marketing for a top-tier tech brand company with almost 300,000 employees. I speak from hands-on experience. Over the past six years, my team has nearly tripled in size. So, consider my advice in helping manage the expectation of your social media skill set. Consider moving beyond Facebooking, Snapping, and Instagramming with your friends. It’s time to see how well you understand the power of social media in the business environment.

8 Social Media Mistakes Hiring Managers Will Find Out About You

1. What Does Google Tell Me About You?

Every recent college graduate looking for a job should Google themselves monthly. Monster reports 77% of hiring managers Google their candidates to inform hiring. If you are not happy with what shows up in the results, you need to rethink your social media posting strategy. Immediately!

2. What Does Your LinkedIn Account Tell Me About You?

LinkedIn reports in June 2020, there were more than 1.5M entry-level jobs and 65K internships in the U.S. listed on the platform. This job statistic suggests you should be establishing your brand on LinkedIn since that’s where the jobs are.

Pew Research reports about 50% of college grads, who live in high-income households, use LinkedIn.

The big takeaway is college grads need to be on LinkedIn if they are serious about their career. It needs to be the digital hub and the center of your networking universe.

Everyone who interviews you for your internship or job will check out your profile. It’s your choice whether to keep it unimpressive or to make it outstanding. Communicate your value. Show your impressive undergraduate work to move to the head of the social media class.

Hiring managers expect you to be a social media expert—someone who can immediately help their business because of this “superpower.”

Gerry Moran

3. Do You Separate Your Business and Personal Social Media Accounts?

33% of young people surveyed said they posted on social media while under the influence of drugs. Yikes! This research is from a Center for Drug Use and HIV/HCV Research (CDUHR) report. Many of them have regretted these actions.

With this documented behavior, it’s time to take down your party pics from last year. Every hiring manager will find your college party pics. Fitting into a company’s culture is a critical and unwritten rule. Hiring managers search every social site available to find you before they hire you. They want to understand if you will fit in with the team and with the greater company ecosystem.

We recommend you have two separate accounts or hidden accounts. We don’t want to see what we should not easily be seen. Pay attention to your privacy settings. Everything you create eventually ends up being released to the public domain. Do not reach out to your potential boss on Facebook, especially in the beginning of your work relationship. Keep in mind, coworkers and customers will be checking your ‘cred’ on all of your social channels.

4. Do You Know How to Tweet?

Adobe Spark reports Twitter is the #4 platform used by businesses. Three hundred million people use Twitter, so you need to understand how to use it for business.

Tweeting for business is not the same as checking in with your crew. Learn about hashtags, links, Tweet-lengths, and tone to help you craft the perfect Tweet!

5. Do You Know The Basics of Blogging?

More than 570 million blogs are generating 7 million daily blog posts so far in 2020. That means blogging is very relevant. Blogging is the communication hub for many large brands and small businesses. So, it’s essential to understand the basics of how they work.

Also, if you know how to blog, then the message comes across that you are a writer (in most cases!). Blogging is one key to success in today’s business world. It will increase your chances of being hired and will help you to succeed on the job. Blogging indicates that you have good communication skills, necessary design skills, and are able to tell a story. It’s awe-inspiring to a hiring manager that you know how to blog.

6. Do You Know The Basics Of Social Media Measurement?

You can’t manage what you don’t measure.  It’s important to understand how to measure social media’s impact. If you are connected to a marketing function, you need to be able to measure your message. Learn how to measure reach:  how many followers you have. Learn how to measure engagement:  how many times people visit a page, like a comment, share a message, click on something. Learn about conversion: how many people sign up for something as a result of social media. I always ask an interviewee, “How do you measure if something works?”

7. Do You Have Something to Say On Social Media About Your Industry?

I always question candidates on “What are your three favorite online reads”? And, “do you share them on social media?”  Besides being able to answer this question, you will also learn and apply something new every day, which will be your edge in the business world.

8. Do You Know How to Research and Listen on Social Media?

There is a fire hose of content you need to consume, process, and use. Information on your industry. Content about your competition. Master how to collect and process this rush of data to move ahead.

Have you had a hiring experience that involved social media? Do you see constant social media mistakes made by candidates? Please share it with me by commenting on this post or emailing gerry@marketingthink.com.

If you’re looking for a new job, harness your energy and digital native skills to build your social brand and help to take your company to the next level.

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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