Make sure your online reputation isn’t damaging your career options

Thursday, March 7, 2019

If you’re looking for a new job, social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are a fantastic way to find employment. However with candidates on their best behaviour during job interviews, employers are increasingly turning to social media to get a better idea of who their prospective employees actually are.

With this in mind, it’s worth taking time to look at your social media profiles to review what kind of image they portray of you. Whilst most employers wont bat an eyelid over the odd swear word or drunken photo of you at university you do need to consider the consistent pattern your profile generates. Most employers will be turned off profiles that use excessive swearing, posts during work hours, express controversial strong opinions or launch personal attacks.

To make sure you’re portraying the best version of yourself when you’re applying for jobs follow our top tips:

  1. Check your privacy settings. Whilst it might seem a good idea to set all your privacy settings so that only friends can see you, this can raise a red flag to potential employers. A future employer is likely to be suspicious of, and pass on, a tech professional who had zero presence on social media in favour of an individual who has a well-managed LinkedIn and Twitter presence but keeps their personal Facebook page private.

  2. Think before sharing. Think about what you’re posting or sharing. It might make you LOL but if you’d be embarrassed it your current manager or granny saw it you probably shouldn’t post it.

  3. Timing is everything. Posting during business hours or at 3am when you come in from a midweek night out won’t put you in a good light with future employers.

  4. Be nice. Don’t post detrimental comments about your current company or colleagues. Even if the criticism is justified, negative comments will reflect poorly on you and you alone and will also burn you bridges.

  5. Don’t post discriminatory comments related to race, gender or religion. Also be conscientious about arguing on social media, especially on contentious issues. When emotions are running high, you need to be especially careful about insulting people who have different viewpoints.

  6. PG-rated images only. If you have them, delete or untag any distasteful photos, posts or groups you are part of that could cause offense and make sure you have a family friendly profile picture. Consistently posting photos of you drinking is also a very bad idea.

  7. Spellcheck your posts. Candidates who misspell words or don’t know how to put sentences together in their online portfolio can ring alarm bells for potential employers. While writing expertise might not be a required skill for the role you seek, carelessness could easily be held against you.

  8. Get a handle on your handles. @Ilovekittens may have been cute when you were at school but if your screen name is inappropriate, complicated or casts you in a negative light, change it to something simple like your name. 

  9. Stay active, get involved. Being active shows they know how to engage with an audience. Social media is your chance to showcase your ability to network, engage others and curate content. You have to commit to your online brand, even if it’s sharing or reposting on social media a few times a week. 

  10. Delete old accounts. Social media platforms go out of fashion quickly, and yesterday’s craze might be out of favour now (Friends Reunited, Myspace, Google+). Nothing posted online ever disappears completely so it’s best to delete old profiles instead of leaving them unattended.