Anonymous Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Be Found

Edited from “Etiquette Tip of the Week” published by Culture and Manners Institute (February 21, 2017).

When I sit with College Career Services professionals, I ask, “What are your students’ etiquette challenges?”

Social media usually comes up. But one professional had an interesting insight: “College students are leaving Facebook. They are resisting LinkedIn. And they are heading for more controversial platforms like Yik Yak.”

Then the bomb: “What students don’t realize is that anonymity does not mean you can’t be found.”

This is true. If you need proof, plug into any search engine the phrase, “Student arrested for social media threat.” You’ll be reading for days. Even Yik Yak works with law enforcement.

There is no such thing as “anonymous” on social media or email. If you don’t want a potential employer or current employer to find it, don’t post it. Don’t even think it.

A 2016 CareerBuilder study revealed 60 percent of employers scan social media for evidence of a candidate’s qualifications. 50 percent have found information online that caused them to reject a candidate.

What if you are not on any social media? You don’t care if that forgettable high school classmate ate turkey pot pie for lunch. It’s not your thing.

If 60 percent of employers are looking and can’t find anything on you, they might ask, “Why in 2017 is this person nowhere on social media?”

Employers are looking for positives on your social media. Give them what they want:

Post photos that show your activities.
Share articles that show your interests.
“Like” or comment on articles from friends or connections.
Go bold: write your own article.
Showcase your excellent communication skills with good grammar.

Don’t waste time posting career-killing content. Use creativity to increase your career opportunities.