Hired or fired? Your social media profile decides!
We are the social media generation.
If we aren’t tweeting, we’re tagging. If we aren’t blogging, we’re browsing. These days, it’s pretty unusual for anyone with a smartphone (or a pulse) not to be on some form of social media, be it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn… the list goes on.
Having an online presence is great. It’s second to none as a tool to keep in touch with old friends, and it acts as a brilliant platform to share information widely. One click of a button, and your holiday snaps go viral to every single one of your connections. Minimum effort, maximum impact. What’s not to love?
Well, here’s what you may not know – social media could be single-handedly sabotaging your job prospects.
Friday night might have been the best night out you’ve had in ages, but “hilarious” pictures of you drunkenly sprawled on the pavement will do you very few favours in the long run. In this situation, it’s not the number of “likes” on your photo that you need to be worried about. A recent survey from CareerBuilder.com suggests that 52% of employers research potential candidates on social media, and a further 10% are now looking to do so.
We’re not just talking professional networking sites, either. These are your personal accounts under scrutiny – and some companies will even Google your background as well. So, if you’ve covered your social profiles with compromising photos, tweets full of bad language, and outrageous slurs against your old boss, you may have just discovered why nobody wants to interview you.
References to drugs/drink
As previously noted, it may be wise to keep the drunken photos in an album – and not an online one. Nobody expects you to be purer than pure, but constant references to your consumption of alcohol (and other less legal substances) might get you a reputation.
97 “likes” or not, overly revealing or inappropriate snaps will put off potential employers. Be careful about the image you choose to project.
If you’re a little slack with grammar and spelling, that’s okay. Again, nobody expects you to be perfect – but just be mindful of who might be reading your posts. “Communication skills” are often listed as a candidate requirement, so this is your chance to prove what you can do.
Bending the truth about your grades
We’re all good at different things – not everyone is academic. So when you’re tempted to sneakily amend an E to an A*, remember that it will do far more harm than good. In reality, most employers will be swayed by how you come across. You might not have done brilliantly in your GCSEs, but don’t be persuaded to embellish too enthusiastically. Sweeping a couple of duff grades under the mat is easy – getting caught out in a lie could be a deal breaker.
Badmouthing the boss
Do not, repeat, DO NOT, name names on Facebook – especially if it’s to rant about an employer. In fact, unless you’re going to wax lyrical about how much you love your job, avoid posting about work completely. It could lead to a world of trouble – nobody wants to employ sour grapes.
Pulling a sickie
Ah yes, the classic *cough cough*. Look, if you’re desperate to pull a sickie (not advised) then at least keep it on the down-low. It’s not clever to post a selfie of your crazy day out when you should be having an un-crazy day sneezing into a Kleenex. Newsflash – photos/posts can be traced back, and timed. Caution.
Non PC comments
This is general good sense – and you should know this anyway. Nobody on social media takes kindly to racism, sexism, or anything else of this nature. It isn’t funny or smart. Pack it in.
Unless you’ve been surprised with a trip to the Ivy, avoid uploading too many pictures of your lunch. This also applies to oversharing and compulsive updating. Live your life, and try not to post too much about absolutely everything you do.
If you’re starting to sweat, fear not – you don’t need to get trigger happy with the “delete profile” button just yet! There are also reams of reasons why social media is a brilliant tool for your job search. It’s not all doom and gloom. Here’s why…
The truth shall set you free!
Just as sneaky grade amendments will catch you out, there’s nothing wrong with posting truthful qualifications online. If you can back them up, post them out. Your social media is your shop window! Sell your achievements to prospective employers.
Keeping it creative
Employers love to see a candidate’s creativity. What can you do? If you’re a blogger, link readers to your writing. If you’re an aspiring director, post your videos. This shows talent and pride in your skills, as well as interesting facets of your personality. Get sharing.
It’s advisable to be wary about the content you post, but you don’t have to be a square! Show that you’re up for a laugh, that you’re friendly and fun, and you’ll only add to your employability.
Awards, recommendations, and shiny trophies…
I refer you back to my prior warning about being truthful. You really should be proud of what you’ve achieved – when you’ve worked hard for something, it’s only right you’d want to share it with the world. And yes, if that includes 100 pictures of your graduation, go ahead. Good news is what social media was invented for!
My best piece of advice is to proceed with extreme caution. The eyes might be the window into the soul, but social media is the window to everything else. It’s the perfect way for an employer to get a candid lowdown on someone – and save time by eliminating those with questionable content on their profiles. Share the good stuff, just don’t overdo it. You never know who’s reading up on you…