Social Media Struggles: Clean It Up Before It’s Too Late

A businessman with his arms outstretched, showing a number of electronic devices.

We all use it. We all upload, post, share, and comment with it every day. But do we truly realize the impact our social media sites have on our ability to get that new job?

Now more than ever employers are researching their potential employees online. They are searching for us on Google and looking through months of Tweets, Instagram selfies, and Facebook rants. And you better believe they will find that one post you don’t want them to find.

Once they discover that undesirable post, you might as well fill out a new job application because employers are rejecting more potential employees than ever before based on what they posted online. In fact, about 1 in 10 candidates will be rejected from a position due to their inappropriate posts.

But what type of posts could prevent you from being hired?

  • Provocative or inappropriate photos and information

Let’s think. Putting a photo online is as permanent as it can get. Even if you delete it from your profile that image can still be floating around in cyberspace. Anyone can get it… including your boss. But why should your boss care about an inappropriate picture? Whether it is a true reflection or not, what you post online can tell someone a lot about who you are. Give the impression you want. Choose wisely before you upload.

  • Posts bad-mouthing a previous employer/employee

Again, let’s think. Bad-mouthing your employer probably isn’t the smartest thing to do. Not only could you be fired, but who would want to hire someone who trash talks their employer? We all know that work and co-workers can become frustrating every now and then, but should we “tell it like it is” to all of our Facebook friends? Probably not. As my mom always tells me, think before you speak and then think again.

  • Posts exhibiting poor communication skills

“Poor communication skills” seems a little fancy for profanity or hot-headedness. It is easy to get caught up in any number of social media rants and slams, but criticizing someone else’s opinion with name-calling and curse words does not show your potential employer that you work well with others. And subliminal tweets are not as obscure as you might think. Try to express your opinion in a polite and professional manner.

  • Discriminatory or other inappropriate language

See! It is all about what you say. Name-calling, profanity, racial slurs… just avoid it at all costs. Not only does it alert your potential employer, it can cause rifts in your social life. Employers are looking for individuals who can work with a diverse group of people so keep your options open and avoid the drama.

  • Posts concerning confidential information from a previous job

When did this ever seem like a good idea? If something is confidential, let’s say… a top secret family recipe that is 100 years old, you might not want to post that if you want to keep your job or even get a new one in the future. Employers want someone who can be reliable and trustworthy. I love a good secret, but you can’t just go telling the whole world.

“But it’s my personal profile,” rejected candidates complain.

Although we use our social media sites for personal uses and to stay connected with friends and family, it can just as easily be accessed by our employers. Employers can learn a lot about you based on what you have said or posted about yourself.

My advice to young job seekers is to be careful of what you post and clean it up before it is too late. You want to leave a good impression with your potential employer, so think before you post something that you might regret. After all, it is the internet. Once it is out there, it can never really go away… Just ask any celebrity! You can always delete photos or posts from your profile, but don’t be surprised if your boss still stumbles across it someday.

So do you really want this new job? Do your social media sites reflect the same answer? You better make sure. Get it cleaned up before it is too late.

Learn More About Social Media

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Social Media: A Powerful Tool for Job Hunters and Career Climbers