As social media continues to gain normalcy, people filter their tweets and posts less and less, while potential employers check out social profiles more and more. Contrary to what some people may think, who you are online is represents how you are perceived in real life.
According to a 2018 survey from Career Builder, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. So, what you say online could cost you the job you’re applying for. No matter how sure you are that what you’ve posted or shared is private, it’s not. And while you think you are out of the woods if your LinkedIn profile remains professional, think again. All of your social media profiles could be scrutinised and it may be time for an overhaul.
Here are some things not to include on your social media or any other online accounts, especially if you’re actively job hunting.
Fun pictures from nights out
Whether your partying days are behind you or you continue to let your hair down every Friday and Saturday night, pictures of you dancing on tables or lining up shots at the bar are better kept private. That’s not to say you have to delete all evidence of you having a good time. Employers are also looking to get a feel for your personality and whether you will be a good fit for their company culture. Just make sure you remove anything questionable and make sure you go back as far as you can, because employers will!
Complaints about previous jobs
These definitely shouldn’t make it into your tweets or posts. We all have bad days, but venting your frustrations online about your job, co-worker or boss is never appropriate, even if you don’t identify anyone. Choose instead to talk it over with a trusted friend. What you have to say may be true, but it creates a poor impression of you. After all, if you lacked discretion then, your potential employer is probably wondering if you lack it still.
Especially with your professional accounts, you don’t need to state your political affiliation. As much as you might like to engage in a debate about your favourite or least favorite political candidate, resist the urge. You don’t need your potential employer viewing your professional account and finding long rants or heated conversations with other friends or connections. Everyone has opinions and expressing them is good, but be mindful of how sensitive the subject and how passionate your point.
Whether it’s a joking reference or not, avoid this at all cost. Online, you can’t decipher tone or context, so no one really knows what you mean by what you said or if it was tongue in cheek. Any illegal activity, perceived or otherwise, could reflect poorly on you and any business you work for.
Playing when you should be working
This one seems obvious, but it happens quite often. Requesting time off work for a ‘family emergency’ and then posting pictures of yourself at a party is not going to end well for you. Lying to your boss obviously is poor judgement, and will reflect badly on you. Even if your potential employer doesn’t know the context, your post contains a date and time mark. This means that they see when it was posted, presumably when it was happening. Likewise, if all your posts are during normal working hours, potential employers might be concerned about your productivity levels, unless that’s part of the job, of course!
A good rule of thumb is to keep your personal and professional accounts separate. On your personal accounts, simply use good judgement. You can be more relaxed, but be aware of what can really turn potential employers away.