Life Before Social Media
I can remember back when you could do or say pretty much anything without an employer, or potential employer finding out about it. As long as you didn’t make the nightly news or create a criminal record for yourself you had nothing to worry about. Well times have changed haven’t they; now most of us have dozens if not hundreds of pictures and self-admitted quotes floating around the web. We now live in a 1984 World, only it isn’t the government tracking every single thing we do,,, it’s us. We can now share our thoughts, our interests, where we are, who we were with… everything to the entire World 24/7. That’s a lot of info about ourselves; and recruiters are now routinely checking that information to find out more about who you “really” are.
They Are Watching
If you are looking for work, it is a different world than it was in even 5 years ago. Recruiters are finding your online presence to learn more about you. They are absolutely going to your Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages to see what you are all about, and potentially other platforms as well. If you are presenting yourself in the wrong light you may be losing opportunities you’re not even aware of.
What you should do: | Linkedin | The Bare-Minimum
Before we talk about what you shouldn’t post let’s talk about what you should. We all know LinkedIn is social media for career related content. Because of this we tend to keep a pretty squeaky clean image there. (although I have seen some pretty unprofessional things happen there over the years) With LinkedIn we know that’s where the recruiters are so we tend to act accordingly. When we talk about job searching and social media the bare minimum is a well maintained LinkedIn Profile. You should have a professional photo (here’s how to do it yourself: HOW TO CREATE AN EPIC LINKEDIN HEADSHOT) along with an error free version of your work history. You should absolutely be sharing ideas about the things that interest you in your industry, as well as following the leaders and companies that move that industry.
What you probably shouldn’t do:
- Show Pictures of Alcohol or Drug use. I know it sounds somewhat obvious, but sometimes it’s really not. Alcohol and Marijuana for instance may both be perfectly legal where you live, but a photo of you sitting next to 12 empty beer bottles with a joint in your hand is going to look preeeettty bad to a potential recruiter. Now “I” know you might be suffering from Glaucoma, but “they” might not.
- Go on Political Rants. This is the one I am really seeing the most of right now and it could really damage your chances of getting a job. Combative posts about how stupid “those people” are is going to make it look like you aren’t very cooperative… which is sort of important when a recruiter is trying to put someone on a team. Second of all we live in a nation with a two party system that is essentially split 50/50. So basically there is a 50% chance of really pissing off the person that might be considering hiring you. I’m all for the 1st amendment… but we should just be aware that there are consequences to speaking your mind in a public forum.
- Have Bad Spelling and Grammar. Social Media is a casual place; putting your semi-colon in the right place isn’t really that important. So while periods and commas don’t matter as much in social media… misspelling words does. People don’t casually misspell real words, so this shows recruiters you are either uneducated or unfocused. If you don’t know how to spell a word, look it up. You realy dont wont too look like a dummy cause of a couple of speling mistakes, do you?
- Show off Your Wealth. Nobody likes a showoff. It gives an impression of being better than others and not being open to learning or collaboration. Being authentic and letting your real self shine through is what employers, as well as your friends want to see.
- Complain About Your Current job. It is very unprofessional to talk badly about your current company or manager. You shouldn’t do this in interviews and you shouldn’t do it on social media.
- Post Risque Photos. I don’t really know what to say here. Ahem,,, I guess if you’re not applying to be an underwear model, then you might not want to post pictures of yourself in your underwear? There really shouldn’t be anything in your photos section you wouldn’t want a future or former employer to see.
- Post Angry Stuff in General. Angry rants and comments in general make you look like an angry person. People don’t want to hire angry people. Even angry people don’t want to work with other angry people.
- Be Profane. Using profanity online looks trashy and juvenile, so unless you are applying for a deck-swabbing position for your local pirate ship, you might want to tone it down a bit.
- Friend Request Someone You Just Interviewed With. Just don’t… Don’t do it… it’s weird and awkward…. and did I mention weird? It is however acceptable to “message” them through LinkedIn to say thank you for meeting.
Oh Crap,,, Guilty as Charged?
If you just realized that your social media situation is a hot mess and that you may have committed hundreds of the above stated infractions,,, don’t panic! It could take days to sift through the years of Facebook posts you’ve made, fortunately this problem is so widespread people have started creating solutions. One solution for Facebook is to use the “Social Book Post Manager” from the Chrome Web Store. There’s a basic overview of it here. If Twitter is where your disaster is at try Unfav.me or Unfavinator.com and use their tool to delete the offending tweets.
Featured Image by Alex Hockett
C.J. is the blogger behind the Vow of Practicality. “Let’s grow your wealth, increase your productivity, and maximize your happiness.”