Eliza Wachtel is currently a junior at Nashoba Regional High School and is an active member in the DECA program, a business club established for high school students aspiring to be the next generation of leaders and entrepreneurs. In her most recent project, known as Network Your Life, she has done extensive research on the magnitude of digital profiling in regards to college applications and potential future careers. Eliza aims to educate her community and fellow classmates on the importance of a professional profile and a clean digital footprint record. Technology and the power of social media have become an asset for many, particularly admission officers and employers. With some time and research, students and adolescents can use the technology available to their advantage.
There is no doubt that we live in a digital world. Adolescents of this generation are consumed by their technology. Most of us can admit to a late night filled with aimless scrolling through the media, wishing somehow our lives were as extraordinary as the most recent vacation post. Despite some of the unwanted emotions, we can sometimes feel from the heavy usage of Instagram or Facebook, social media opens the gates for an opportunity. Fortunately for admission officers and employers, one’s identity is only a few clicks away. At least for a majority of this generation. The internet is a powerful tool and can reflect one’s personal image in either a very positive or negative light.
In a survey conducted by the Kaplan Test Company, nearly 300 colleges admitted to viewing the various social media accounts of their most recent applicants. Your online presence can increase your chances of getting into that dream school and just as easily hurt them. Alyson Klein wrote about an event at Harvard University in 2017. This event involved 10 students being withdrawn as a result of participation in an inappropriate Facebook group. The exchanges of insensitive messages meant for a laugh backfired for them. In regards to employers, 79% of marketers see LinkedIn as an excellent source of leads, with 43% of marketers saying that they have sourced at least one customer from Linkedin. In fact, nearly 87% of recruiters regularly use Linkedin. Mind-Blowing LinkedIn described that in a recent study, 122 million people received an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million having been hired by an employer they connected with on the site. Paper resumes are not entirely obsolete, however, they have recently become outdated. It may be time to switch to a digital resume if you have not already done so.
The key to nailing an online portfolio is through the appropriate use of professional and creative content. Online profiles should be user friendly and present one’s skills and experiences in a well-organized format. Creativity is more than welcome and in fact, encouraged. The appropriate use of color and icons can be of benefit to many. It is one of the many ways to advertise personality. Forbes Agency reveals that it is important to know that employers and admission officers are also seeking information on one’s interests and personal hobbies Your profile should include a clear and appropriate image of yourself that accurately represents the image you’d like to put out into the world. Community service work, participation in school activities, educational background, and other major accomplishments such as a win in a recent competition are great examples of valuable information to include in a digital profile according to Morgan Smith, who writes for Designer’s Developers Marketers. Users should constantly update their material so they can present their most recent work to desired employers or schools.
Through this research process, it is the hope that adolescents will have the right tools necessary to develop their own personal brand. These are the qualities that will set you apart from others.
Eliza Wachtel, Nashoba Regional High School