Social Media and Your Career


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Researching candidates via social media and other online sources has transformed from an emerging trend to a staple for online recruitment.

~ Rosemary Haefner, Chief HR Office for Career Builder

It is no secret that social media has changed our lives in far reaching ways.  We all know the benefits and I am guessing that more than a few have also experienced the challenges which come from exposing your life to the masses.

Personally, I avoid posting anything that may be questionable, embarrassing or which somehow might embarrass myself, my family or my friends.  As a parent, I encouraged Abby to remember that her posts would be judged by colleges and then later by employers.  As a recruiter, I cannot stress enough how true this turned out to be. 

Recruiters, both independent and corporate, along with hiring managers often review the social media accounts of top applicants especially if it is for a high level or very visible position.  I have had candidates almost lose their opportunity when a potential employer found questionable posts on the candidate’s personal accounts. 

Here are some of the mistakes I’ve seen which have almost caused a candidate to lose the opportunity to earn that new position.

  • Scantily clad or inappropriate attire in photos or worse, lewd behavior
  • Drinking and drug use
  • Posting during work hours and worse yet, bad mouthing employers or co workers
  • Racist or closed minded thoughts (which throw up red flags to HR managers about future inappropriate work behavior or potential harassment situations)
  • Miss-spelling and bad use of grammar, indicating poor or limited communication skills

The most shocking part of this trend is that it spreads much farther than the 20-30 year old who grew up in the social media boom.  We have seen career limiting behavior from people in their 40’s and 50’s as well. 

Despite the fact that you have heard it before, my advice is to really think about what information you are putting out there about yourself and to remember that even if you limit your visibility it is still possible that your information is viewed by people who may be judging you on the information you put out on the web.  If you are in the market for a new position or if you think you may want to make a career change, I highly suggest you take a look at yourself through the eyes of your future employer and make sure that what you may have said, tweeted, posted, shared or snapped a picture of in the past is a fair and accurate representation of who you are as a person. 

Let us not forget that others can post about you too.  It is a good idea to periodically check to see what information is out there about you.  Let’s all add it to our calendar to do a once yearly check. 

One way to stay in control is to set a Google Alert for yourself so that you are notified if there is new information out there about you. 

You can do that here, https://www.google.com/alerts.

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