Social Media and Employment – think before you post

social media employmentSocial media use is higher than ever, and it is no surprise that employers are checking up on our profiles. Giving the wrong impression could cost you your job, or prevent you from getting a new one, so wise up and think before you post, before it’s too late!

Potential Employers

More and more employers are searching for potential candidates across social media…and that drunk photo of you in your pants might not be as funny from their point of view. Before you start job-hunting, untag yourself from any incriminating or generally unsuitable photos, this precaution should be enough to keep them out of sight. Make sure your profile picture represents you well, and that your posts are appropriate for all audiences. Delete unsuitable posts if need be. It may seem like a lot of effort, but social media profiles let the employer see into your personal life; it can be a deal breaker if this doesn’t represent you well. Just to put this into perspective, a 2013 survey by CareerBuilder found that 43% of employers have actually found something on social that has made them reject a candidate… don’t let this be you.

This doesn’t mean your profiles can’t portray your charisma and sense of humour however – just be cautious of how you may come across to others.

Don’t bad mouth your workplace

It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how many people still negatively rant about work over social media. When it comes to your workplace, unless it’s positive, avoid saying anything. This includes your opinion of colleagues (or more importantly your boss), and by avoiding saying anything, you also avoid saying the wrong thing. Some companies now even include social media issues within employment contracts; asking employees never to post about work-related issues. If you really have to you could always rant and rave about how much you love your job by all means…

If you are really worried what employers or potential employers may think of your profiles, or you simply want to keep it private, turn your account settings to a private profile. Most social networks allow this, and it keeps the details of your profile away from anyone you haven’t allowed to view it. This way you can protect your job, but more importantly protect yourself from giving the wrong impression.

One step too far?

When you open up your life to the world of social media, remember you open it up to everyone. Some people believe that employers snooping around profiles is an invasion of privacy, but it is primarily your responsibility to regulate what you post. If you feel something would be inappropriate for potential employers, perhaps it’s best to take a step back and question whether or not it is suitable at all, some things are just better left unsaid (or unseen). If you really need somewhere to vent about your issues, it’s best not to turn to your Twitter feed anyway (trust me, no one wants to see that) and you could always confide in a friend or write down your feelings in a diary like we all used to, remember?

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