I Know What You Tweeted Last Summer – Can Social Media Harm Your Job Search?

By: Express Employment Professionals

Social media has become an amazing tool millions of people use every day to meet, connect, and stay in touch with each other all over the world. Sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ help their users express themselves and meet like-minded individuals to share their thoughts and passions to build communities like never before.

They are also tools for potential employers to get a better picture of who you are outside of the interview or résumé. According to a recent survey conducted by the recruiting and applicant tracking software company Jobvite, 90% of employers will refer to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin before making a hire. Many employers feel that whatever you do in your normal social life will reflect in your work life. With the newest Facebook Timeline feature, it will be even easier for companies to see posts from your crazy college days, outbursts from teenage angst, or outrageous decisions as a young adult from two or three years ago. Here are some ways social media may keep you from getting hired and how to avoid it.

Trash Talkin’

Any vicious or ill-tempered comments you make on your social media sites can make you look bad. These are reflections on you as a person outside of the job interview where you are actively trying to put your best foot forward and impress.

One of the most famous examples of this is the “Cisco Fatty” incident in 2009. Job seeker, Connor Riley was offered a position with consumer electronics company Cisco. Later that day, Riley posted the on her Twitter account:

 “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.”

Soon, a manager at Cisco found the tweet in a search and responded:

“Who is the hiring manager. I’m ssocial-media-imageure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the web.”

Needless to say, her job offer was soon withdrawn. Be careful when posting your thoughts and opinions online no matter what frame of mind you’re in at the time. You never know who is reading it. A safe bet is if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.

Picture Postin’

Pictures are great ways to highlight the best memories from your past. They can also be proof of some of the most unprofessional and embarrassing moments in your life. What you do in your free time reflects the kind of person you are. Potential employers will not see you as a reliable, serious candidate if your profiles are littered with party and prank photos. You might also want to avoid showcasing your record number of tattoos or piercings if looking for a job with a lot of face-to-face and direct business meetings.

Go Googlin’

Have you ever typed your name into Google and searched yourself? What do you think you’ll find? You should search your name regularly during your job hunt to see what pops up. If you want to use your profiles for silly pictures and rants, set your profiles to private. It won’t keep everything from those looking for you, it will help. If you want your name to appear more professional, sign up for several other professional social networking sites like Ziggs,Ecademy, or Networking for Professionals, The more your name is out there producing positive content, the more good things will show up on Google.

Some employers really do use online profiles to help make hiring decisions. Online image company Reppler reports almost 65% of employers say they have passed on prospective hires after taking a look at their social profiles.

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