We have all been stereotyped at one point or another in our lives. I won’t bother rattling off a few, since you all know the most common ones. Think for a minute of one stereotype and I guarantee you can think of one person that fits it perfectly. Most of the time it’s funny – “Oh man! He really is cheap!” – but sometimes we fall into these stereotypes because we do nothing but perpetuate them.
I’ll give an example about myself to save my friends from embarrassment. I was born blonde, I am a former cheerleader and I am a member of Greek life. Anyone who doesn’t know me would probably assume I’m a ditzy drunk. But I can’t complain about that stereotype when half the time I get caught up in situations that any person with common sense could figure out, and I have posted pictures of my freshman year extravaganzas all over Facebook.
When it comes down to it, I’m bringing it upon myself. If I stop and think for a few seconds about what’s coming out of my mouth, I wouldn’t be called a dumb blonde; if I would have kept photos of myself with beer bottles off of Facebook, I would have set a much better example for both college students and Greek life.
Now that I’m a senior looking for jobs – and now that Facebook is open to the general public – I keep tabs on what I put online. As a student blogger for the university, I’m tempted to put pictures of my legal partying online, but I know that prospective students can see them – and so will my future employers (Oscar Mayer found my blog through a keyword search and brought it up during my interview).
So instead I post things about my geeky art history cram-fests. On Facebook, I try to keep my pictures (especially the album titles) tasteful. An employer doesn’t even have to bother looking at the photos when the title of the album is “Spring break ?$@&ed me up!” And if you think changing your privacy settings will help, there are plenty of current interns that are part of your network who can look you up for an employer.
Think before you post. Actually, try thinking before you do. You never know when you’ll be out at some club, drunk as ever, and there’s your internship advisor or the human resources rep you interviewed with shaking his or her head in disgust (or vice versa. hey, it’s happened to me. That was a great Monday morning story!). The last thing you want is for someone to condone your behavior because, “Oh, she’s blonde” or “Oh, he’s a frat guy.”
Ashley Davidson is a senior majoring in journalism and studio art. She has seen a former employer in a less-than-professional state and may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.