Social Media and Your Career

January 30, 2015

When beginning your job search, it’s important to remember to clean up your social media presence for potential employers. In this day and age, it is common practice for recruiters and employers to survey someone’s social media before offering a job or even an interview.

Facebook: With such a large amount of users, it may seem normal to to share intimate details of your life with your friends. But the fact of the matter is that those weekend pictures and inside jokes can be seen by many more people than just your friends. Though it is hard to tell how many companies are actually using social media to vet candidates, according to a SHRM survey 77% of organizations are using social networking when recruiting. So putting your account on private might be doing harm as well. Be sure to clear your Facebook of inappropriate pictures and jokes. Also remember, it is never okay to use Facebook as a way to complain about an employer, past or present. If a future employer saw it, they could use it as grounds not to hire you. In a survey done by CareerBuilder the top reasons an employer would not hire a candidate based on social media is:
The candidate posted provocative/ inappropriate photos (46%)
There was info about the candidate drinking in excess or using drugs. (41%)
The candidate bad mouthed a previous employer (36%)
The candidate had poor communication skills (32%)
The candidate made discriminatory comments (28%)
The candidate lied about qualifications (25%)

LinkedIn: It may seem like common knowledge to keep a professional LinkedIn account, but many users don’t know how to effectively utilize its many features. When used properly, LinkedIn is a perfect opportunity to brand yourself positively. Keep your profile picture simple and polished, and don’t clutter your profile with unnecessary information. Broadcast your strengths and experience, but don’t treat it as anything other than the networking tool it is.

Twitter: The world of Twitter is extremely fast-paced, with feeds constantly growing and changing. In such an environment, users often type and post tweets without giving much forethought. This can be dangerous! To avoid regret later, think before you tweet! Again, never mention negative experiences with clients, employees or colleagues. Instead, try tweeting in regards to industry news!

Instagram: Again, inappropriate pictures can ruin your image in the mind of a recruiter. Steer clear of pictures from wild parties or nights out. Make sure to check what photos you are being tagged in as well.

Other (Tumblr, Pinterest, Foursquare, etc.): As a basic rule, don’t post anything that could be taken the wrong way. If you wouldn’t talk about it in a job interview, don’t post it for all the world to see. Long rambling blog posts, inappropriate pins, and check-ins at bars and clubs every night can end up do more harm than good!

Overall, it is necessary to keep a professional biography on social media. When Twitter or Instagram asks you to compose a short statement about yourself and what you’re up to, keep it short, sweet and appropriate. In a world of constant communication, it benefits you to leave something to the imagination. Your future resume will thank you!


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