Social Media: Can Your Future Employer See You Now
William Jackson, M.Edu.
Edward Waters College – Jacksonville, Florida
Talking to the NULITES of the Jacksonville, Florida
Urban League. Teens and young adults must think
about who can and will potentially see their content.
The use of technology opens doors that can create challenges
in the lives of youth, teens and young adults. In too many
occasions teens use technology as a tool to present themselves
as more than they are. Allowing the use of tech to share their
lives in inappropriate ways, trying to impress others at the
expense of their privacy and pride.
We all make mistakes that sometimes cannot be undone, the
mistakes of the past can sometimes influence the possibilities
of the future. When teens start applying for internships,
employment, scholarships and even military service they are
systematically Googled, researched and investigated to see if
they are in fact the right person for the right job or college,
university or even if they have the “right stuff” for military service.
The seriousness can be seen as increased numbers of employers
look at the Social Media content and digital footprints of teens
and young adults they are considering on employing. Sometimes
the thought by teens is that deleting an account will digitally
“hide” them from employer’s eyes, but that is not the case.
Sites are backed up, archived and shared within multiple
networks so the information which consists of text, pictures,
videos, tweets and other types of digital information are stored
on a server someplace that a person or business and even law
enforcement can have access to.
Companies, businesses, higher education, vocational schools,
all conduct a sort of “social media background check.” Teens
and young adults do not want to risk jeopardizing the opportunity
for employment because of a photo or post that may have been
posted or even tagged years ago. Not only do youth, teens and
young adults have to be careful of what they post they have to
be cautious of who/whom they are tagged with. Parents need to
“stalk” their children and themselves by Googling, pretending to
be a potential employer or recruiter to look for potential digital
Many students are intimidated by just the idea of being investigated
by their Social Media content, and even their high schools are
doing this because of violence, drug use, gang activity and other
issues. People looking at their Facebook, Snap Chat, Vine and
Instagram content. The questions are, what are colleges and job
recruiters looking for on these pages and for what purpose?
Kaplan Test Prep conducted a survey in 2014 that found,
“Over a third (35%) of college admissions officers have visited
an applicant’s social media page to learn more about them”,
(Kaplan Test Prep 2014) this number is steadily increasing.
Once students know that colleges and businesses use Social
Media content in respect to recruiting and hiring this influences
what they post and encourages scrutiny
and caution in the actions of students.
Senior students like Kyleigh McGrail, Stone Bridge High School,
Ashburn, Virginia stated about Social Media, “I’ve always been
told, by parents and teachers, that colleges look at your social
media accounts. I’ve heard stories of recruited athletes that got
their scholarships taken away because of what they put on social
media. Because of this, my social media accounts have always
been clean, I think it’s super important.”
During the progression through high school, students take their
Social Media content seriously the closer they get to graduation
because of the influence it can play in being accepted into higher
education or denied acceptance, caution should start in middle
school. Mental stability or instability can sometimes be detected
from multiple postings of photos and videos. The increase
awareness and concern of mental health can potentially be
evaluated by a persons’ Social Media content from the shooting
and violence that has happened in the past by others, similar
thinking in radicalism are dangerous signs.
The reality has grown that Social Media is the best way to show
what you are “really, really good at” without having your whole
life summed up in a resume, curriculum vita and/or cover letter.
The simplicity and efficiency of Social Media cover multiple areas.
First impressions are very important and Social Media can enhance
impressions or tell a different story. Word to students in middle
and high school, as a Social Media speaker, blogger and educator,
Social Media should reflect the positive of a student, their leadership
potential, and vision for their future and diversity in working with
The competition is high for employment, military careers are looking
for those who are the same both on and off paper; this is a global
competition not just local and national. Technology is influencing
global commerce, employment, and economic/intellectual mobility.
“Like it or not, in the Social Age we are judged by the character
displayed on Social Media. This is not your Social Media of the past
where it was just text and command line entries, it is graphical,
interactive, influential and buzzing with information.”
William Jackson, M.Edu.
Parents take the time talk to your children, guide them, and think
like a future employer or college recruiter looking for new students.
Would you honestly hire your child, grandchild, or other family members
after you see their postings online?
Photos from the NULITES Social Media workshop
Jacksonville Florida Urban League
Rhonda Lee, NULITES Advisor
Jacksonville Urban League