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How Your Social Media Account Can Affect Your Job Prospects

Posted by: Megan Speet

Think about how easy it is to find old class mates, a stranger from the pub or a friend of a friend on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. An employer can do the same, and it may damage your career depending on what you have on there.

In a survey carried out by Technojobs, 61% of employers who researched potential candidates on social media decided not to hire them based on the contents of their profile.
This may sound harsh, but when hiring, a company makes sure to consider someone who can represent the values of their company accurately and respectively. That seemingly harmless photo of you with a glass of champagne at your cousins wedding may be the deciding factor in whether or not to consider you for the job. Many people feel that their personal lives shouldn’t interfere with their career life, but once online, a post, photo or video isn’t personal anymore and is only a quick search away.

Some common mistakes that people make on their social media accounts are obvious; posting photos whilst intoxicated and making tasteless or profanity fuelled comments. However, there are many mistakes that can be made unintentionally which could have negative implications for you and your success. Some of these include:
• Plagiarism. Make sure that if you ever post someone else’s work, whether an article, photo or video that you credit the artist or author.
• Sharing news about a job offer. Job offers may be confidential, and are no indication that you have actually managed to secure the job. Employers may see your harmless post about a job offer as untrustworthy and quickly revoke the offer.
• Clutter on your home page or profile. Your social media account can be seen as an alternate C.V. Just like a C.V, you’d like your profile to come across neat and organised with updated details, and minimised the amount of unnecessary junk.
• Using “texting” or abbreviated language. This may display to an employer that you have poor communication skills.
• Displaying inaccurate or different information about time periods at previous jobs or qualifications.

As easy as it is to make these mistakes, it’s also incredibly easy to fix them; and the cleaning up or “pruning” of your social media accounts does not only have to serve to get rid of any content that may inhibit your job, but can be the time to promote the best parts of yourself which you could offer to a potential workplace.

According to a survey carried out by CareerBuilder, 29% of surveyed hiring managers found something positive on a profile that drove them to hiring a candidate. Use your social media accounts as a way to promote your skills, back up professional qualifications, advertise your professional image, or display how great of a communicator you are.

Other ways you can build a professional and employer safe social media presence include:
• Adjusting your privacy settings allows you to pick and choose what posts you want to be seen by the public, friends or whatever your personal preferences are.
• Cleaning up your profile picture. If you job hunting, remove any photos of you that could be deemed inappropriate. Instead, pick a clear photo that not only promotes your professional side but shows your personality as well. So no, you probably shouldn’t use that picture of you with a beer in hand at Oktoberfest, it may scream “party animal” rather than “well travelled”.
• Creating a LinkedIn profile to advertise your professional image. You can upload your job history, skills and education and it’s a great way to connect with companies and businesses.
• Making sure that your information on all your profiles is clear, consistent and correct as well as using appropriate spelling and grammar.

Although it may seem like a hassle, these quick changes and mistakes could really make or break your job success. At the end of the day, it is up to you to monitor what you are posting on social media, and make sure that you are promoting the best parts of yourself. After all, you never know when that messy weekend trip to Ibiza could come up in a future job interview!

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