The answer to that last rhetorical question is a resounding YES. Digital presence is a modern day reality in processes like employment and college admissions. Most parents and educators today have “the talk” with their students before they apply to college. You know, the talk about deleting any photos that might give Grandpa heartburn.
What parents and educators are beginning to realize is that this should be more than a fire and brimstone talk. Telling a student to shift their online reputation from a negative to a neutral, by removing posts and accounts, isn’t enough in today’s competitive college and job markets. Students need the skills to create an online reputation that will be a positive influence on their applications.
The information students reveal about themselves online is being used in meaningful ways by college admissions officers, athletic recruiters, and employers. These professionals are turning to the Internet to conduct research on college and job hopefuls in order to get a more rounded picture of who they are as individuals.
Three surveys conducted by Cornerstone Reputation revealed that in the 2013-2014 admissions season 36% of admissions officers researched candidates online. This number increased to 45% the following year. The use of the Internet for research is amplified among the college athletic community, where in 2014 an overwhelming 83% of coaches reported that either they or someone within their coaching staff conducted online research on their athletic recruits.
For college students seeking to enter the job market, it is a virtual certainty that their online presence will be reviewed by potential employers. In a study to be published later this year, Cornerstone reveals that 93% of hiring managers search for candidates online.
Where do the admissions-deciders go to do their online searches? They turn primarily to Google and to Facebook/Twitter to learn more about students. 83% of coaches use Google and 54% of admissions officers have done the same. Coaches are even more likely to conduct research on Facebook. 88% stopped there to learn about candidates under consideration.
“With technology as important as it is today, it is IMPERATIVE that recruits understand that ANYTHING they put out on the internet can and will be found, sometimes unintentionally.”
Students have a powerful personal branding tool in their hands with the Internet. It’s imperative that they be intentional in managing their online reputation, practice positive posting and present their authentic selves in a way that is discoverable to recruiters.
Want to learn more about how to help your student get a handle on their online presence? Reach out to Cornerstone Reputation at firstname.lastname@example.org!
By Jennifer Schwartz