Before embarking on the inevitable I-graduate-in-four-months Facebook purge, you may want to reconsider a few potential unfriending candidates.
Yes, career counselors and parents alike warn against sharing too much and with too many people on social media sites (read: the importance of privacy settings); although these college acquaintances may not seem like the first people you want to share your Facebook world with, they could be worth keeping around.
Before you give the proverbial ax to those not worthy of following you into post-grad life, think about the benefits you could be missing out on from each of these college connections.
1. The professor from a non-major course
Many students become close with professors — especially those within their major — over the course of their four years in college; so friending a professor on Facebook isn’t always awkward. In some cases, it would even be weird not to do so.
But what about the professor who taught a required course outside of your major? Besides being friends on Facebook, you haven’t kept up with him since you got more involved in upper-level major classes. Needless to say, he wouldn’t be the first person you plan to reach out to for that stellar letter of recommendation you’ll need soon.
Maybe this professor’s expertise isn’t directly correlated to the type of job you are seeking, but here is a little secret about your first job: You probably won’t be doing exactly what you hoped, which means you are going to need to utilize skills that may not have been a part of your major. Computer Science major applying for a job in consulting? There’s a professor for that! Business major applying for an advertising job that is writing-intensive? There’s a professor for that, too!
A professor outside of your major is the perfect person to help you brush up on the skills you will need to land the job you thought was a bit out of your comfort zone.
2. The Chemistry 101 teaching assistant
A hybrid teacher and student in one, TAs fall in a gray area when it comes to socializing. Remember that it was not too long ago that they were living the undergrad life themselves, which means they are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to preparing for grad school.
Even if your former TA has moved on to bigger and better things, staying in touch via Facebook could really come in handy when it comes time to consider your options for further education in your field. Should you work for a few years before earning a graduate degree? What are the best schools for someone in this field?
These questions are just some of many that your TA probably struggled to answer for his- or herself at one time and can now help you answer for yourself. Who knows, maybe he can even tell you how to land a gig as a TA.
3. The senior who took you under his or her wing
You met at a party during the first few weeks of school and from that point on, this senior was like the older sibling you never had. Between helping you pick the best (and avoid the worst) professors and giving you the low down on Greek life and other campus organizations, he or she single-handedly took freshman year from awkward to awesome.
Three years later, however, he or she has been living life in the “real world” with a full-time job and you’ve been out of touch. While it may have been hard to relate over the past few years, you are about to enter into the same life-stage he has or she been living.
What better person to talk to about your post-grad worries. He or she may be able to put your mind at ease or at least give you some pointers on how to successfully tackle corporate America.
4. The roommate’s ex-boyfriend or girlfriend
There exists an unspoken rule that good roommates do not fraternize with their roommate’s exes. He may be the nicest person in the world, but that doesn’t change the fact that your roommate probably does not want to come home to said ex lounging on the bottom bunk.
So why keep this guy around? Well, you might not be BFFs, but keeping in touch could be helpful after college. Maybe you get a job in the city where he grew up and he can point you toward the best part of town to rent an apartment. Perhaps, one of his mutual friends has a friend of a friend — you get the idea — who will be working at the same company as you.
No matter how convoluted the connection, if he was a nice guy (go ahead and unfriend the haters), then chances are one of his connections could prove a good connection for you, too.
5. The intern coordinator from your first internship
Most of the connections you make at an internship are probably better suited for LinkedIn rather than Facebook, but sometimes a younger employee is tasked with the job of managing interns. This person can play more of a mentor/friend role during your internship, so becoming friends on Facebook is a viable option. Six internships later, however, the coordinator from your first internship has fallen onto the “Facebook friendship pending” list.
Keeping in touch with one of your first managers can help you on your journey to adulthood. He or she has undoubtedly seen interns and new hires come and go through the revolving door at the company. Intern coordinators are often essential parts of the hiring process, reviewing hundreds of resumes to fill these roles — making him or her the expert on what qualities get an applicant in the door and, more importantly, what keeps them around.
Reconnecting with an internship coordinator is a great way to gain insight as to how to get your resume to the top of the pile and become and indispensible employee in your industry.
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