How Social Media Can Affect Your Job Search

Your friends aren’t the only people checking you out online – so are potential employers. Do you like what your social media presence says about you?

Your Instagram selfies, Twitter opinions and party pics on Facebook might seem like harmless social media fun, but your friends aren’t the only people checking you out online. More and more employers are looking up potential employees (that means you) on social media to get an impression of who you really are outside of the working environment. While many are simply using it to see whether or not you present yourself professionally and truthfully, some employers have admitted to deciding not to interview someone because of negative social media content they’ve found.

With this in mind, if you look at your social media presence objectively, do you like what it says about you?

The good

In the job-hunting game, social media definitely has its place. It gives both applicants and employers the chance to scope each other out and see whether they might be a good fit. Many employers use social media to advertise positions available, and it’s a good idea to keep virtual tabs on the companies you’re interested in working for.

Likewise, as your CV does the rounds, keeping your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts smart, snappy and up to date can be the very thing that gets you a literal foot in the door. And if the job you’re interested in is involved in social media in some way – communications, for example, or advertising – having a strong online presence is essential. Don’t be afraid to engage in conversations to show your knowledge and expertise.

The bad

On the other hand, it’s just social media, surely it doesn’t matter if you’re a little sloppy with your spelling and grammar? And you can definitely be forgiven for having a rant about your ex-boss, right? Wrong. Potential employers reading your enraged and rude comments online aren’t likely to pick up the phone to call you. At all times, and especially while you’re job hunting, be polite and respectful in your online interactions.

The ugly

Proof of excessive drinking or drug taking; inappropriate, discriminatory or extreme religious and political views; sexually explicit content – these things will not only prevent you from getting a job, they might even land you in pretty hot water with the law. Offensive posts on social media have ended many careers and have landed more than a few people in court, too. No one’s forgotten Justine Sacco whose bigoted tweet en route to South Africa in 2013 saw her publically and internationally shunned.

In light of all this, you might consider doing a bit of a clean up of your virtual persona, but this doesn’t mean stripping it of all its personality. Showing your fun, quirky, creative side is also likely to get you noticed – and in a good way! Don’t be shy to show who you are, but just make sure that it’s the interesting, engaging, professional person any employer would be lucky to have.

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