Is your social media persona hurting your job search?

Social media is an important part of our everyday lives, but your conduct on social media can make or break your chances of landing the job you want.

According to a survey done by CareerBuilder on 2,300 hiring managers and HR professionals, 70% of employers check on their candidates’ social media profiles before hiring

Why are employers looking at your profile?

Employers have cited these as key things they are looking for when checking candidates’ social media profiles:

  • Information to support candidate’s qualifications for the job
  • If candidate has a professional online persona
  • What others are saying about the candidate
  • Any reason at all to not hire the candidate

Among employers who visit their candidates’ social media profiles, 54% have found content that caused them not to hire a candidate.

Red flags that turn prospective employers away

According to the same survey, these are just some of the common social media mistakes that have influenced employers against hiring a candidate:

  • Provocative or inappropriate photographs, videos or information
  • Information or photos about alcohol or drug use
  • Discriminatory comments or offensive threats relating to race, gender or religion
  • Bad-mouthing previous employer or coworker
  • Lying about qualifications
  • Poor communication skills, or spelling & grammatical errors
  • Links to criminal behaviour
  • Sharing of confidential information from previous employers
  • Unprofessional screen name
  • Posting too frequently

Other ‘red flags’ for employers include:

  • Posting during work hours (reflects terribly on your productivity)
  • Photographs taken in an impaired / drunken state
  • Political rants and arguments
  • Angry conversation threads or spiteful remarks

Make social media work for you

You don’t have to go about deleting your social media profiles or removing content just yet. The same survey found that more than 44% of employers have hired a candidate having seen something positive on their social media profiles

Here are ways you can make social media work for you.

Represent your skills well
Creativity, good communication skills and strong professional image are just some of the things that employers can notice from a social media profile, and can really make a candidate stand out from the crowd. Engage in meaningful conversations that may be relevant to your industry, or participate in events or activities that highlight your skills.

Always be respectful of others
What you post online stays there for a long time even after you’ve removed it. Have a general rule to be respectful of others, and steer clear from offensive or provocative topics.

Stay careful, even after you’ve landed a new job
According to the same survey, 51% of employers continue monitor their employees’ social media profiles.
34% of employers have found online content that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Keep your privacy settings updated
Constantly do a privacy setting check-up to make sure that your settings are up to date. Don’t forget that photos you’re tagged in, pages you’ve liked, or comments you’ve made to articles or threads may be visible to the public.