Social media users need to be careful about what they post on Facebook, Twitter and other media-sharing profiles. A growing number of employees are using online resources to screen potential candidates, including Myspace, Facebook and other social media sites. In Australia, more than 25% of employers turn to Facebook and Twitter to screen their candidates, half of which are turned down after what they see online. If you want the edge while looking for a new career, make sure you pay attention to what you put on your online profiles.
Mistake #1: Inappropriate Material
There are a number of things that really stand out to potential employers and make them turn away. One of the biggest mistakes is posting inappropriate material on Facebook. Unfortunately, this is also a very common problem and causes many people to get overlooked for a job offer. While it may seem funny at the time to share these pictures with friends, remember that anyone considering hiring you may not find them so humorous. Posting nude, illegal or other offensive material on your social media site will count against you to 31% of employers.
Mistake #2: Discriminatory Comments
You also need to be aware of any racial or discriminatory comments you make to friends and family online. According to polls, this is an even bigger problem to potential employers who view it as a major red flag. A whopping 37% of employers say viewing discriminatory remarks online from a candidate counts against them. Perhaps the only thing worse is mention of illegal activities or drug use. If you want to create a good image for potential employers, avoid racist or hurtful comments online and remember this is enough to even cost you a job you’re well qualified for.
Mistake #3: Inappropriate Social Media Use During Employment
There are also a number of mistakes you can make using social media profiles once you have a job. Avoid sending friend requests to employers, as 50% believe this blurs the line between work and friendship. Negative remarks online about your job or boss can also cost you: 44% of employers found this to be a huge problem. It may even cost you future jobs if potential employers later see you talking badly about your prior job site. 18% of employers report that they check the profiles of current employees to look for negative remarks about the company. 15% will check to see if you are using Facebook at work, sometimes referred to as “cyber slacking.”
Tips for Landing a Job
Before you post something on your online profiles, think about how a potential employer or boss may view it. While you may find an image funny and want to share it with friends, a boss may find it very offensive. If possible, go through your profile and remove bad language and offensive images. You may also tweak some settings so only specific people may view images on your profile. You should always take the time to adjust your privacy settings to make sure only friends or family can see your posts. This prevents future employers from snooping into your comments and viewing everything you’ve ever said online.
While no one is suggesting you use your social media profiles with only job searching in mind, it’s still important to consider the image it creates of you online. After your resume and prior job experience, your online presence may be the next thing your potential employer checks. If something offensive, illegal or discriminatory is found, they just may reconsider a job offer in favor of someone more in line with company beliefs. Always think twice about what you post online and remember to adjust your privacy settings so the right people are viewing your comments.