So, you have finally graduated and are now starting the exciting journey of job search. There are tons of opportunities out there, and you are determined to consider them all. You start sending out CV’s, going to interviews and … after a while you get suspicious. Why is nobody sending you job offers? You seem to be good enough for the job and what is even better – you are eager to do it and you have said so at all interviews. So, why isn’t it working?
The reason can easily be in your social media profiles. We have lived through the period when companies wouldn’t hire those with Facebook profiles for fear they’d spend their work time there. Then came the time when people without Facebook pages would be considered suspicious and thus denied job offers. Those two extremities are now in the past, but social media is still a major factor in finding and evaluating job applicants and can work for their benefit or vice versa.
When does your profile hurt your employment chances? Here are a few possible situations.
Your circle of friends and connections doesn’t seem appropriate
Lots of inexperienced job applicants think that unfriending porn profiles on Facebook is enough to clean up the mess. It is definitely not. What about the comments that your frat buddy leaves under every post you make? How about half-naked profile pictures that your exotic dancer friend has all the time? How about photos they tag you on? Oh, and you also have this guy who is a friend of a friend and who’s posting racist jokes and political nonsense. How do you think it looks for a recruiter? Your friends in no small measure make up your image. Do you want it to be so?
The photographs tell a lot about you
Although we all were at college once, experience proves HR departments are not very tolerant to underage drinking and 24-hour partying, especially if you are applying for a serious position. You might have deleted those photographs from your profile, but they are still somewhere out there, reducing your chances of success. Do not hesitate to go through your friends’ photos and see if there is something that might show you in the bad light. Oh, and use Google images too – it is a primary resource of incriminating visual content.
The time you post are mostly work hours
This one is especially important for those who already have a job and want to change it. Imagine if one of your employees was using work time to do personal things on Facebook. Would you be happy? Then why should your potential employer be? Most of the content you post on social media has time stamps, so it is really easy to see whether you use work time for personal things.
Empty profiles on multiple networks
Having one empty profile might mean you’ve tried and didn’t like the concept. Having a few of them proves you start things that you don’t want or can’t finish. Either delete those (we all have a MySpace account, don’t we?) or fill them with basics – a profile image, a bio and at least a few posts.
Your profile interests don’t match your professional bio
If you are applying for a writer’s position, make sure your LinkedIn profile is not filled with content from other fields. In other words, your profile should prove you are capable of and willing to do the job you are applying for. Otherwise, the recruiter will assume you are applying for the job out of despair or because you are planning to change it as soon as possible.
The rule of thumb is – separate professional from personal, and never put out too much on social media. While your friends can appreciate your achievements in pole dancing, your employer most likely will not (unless you are planning on becoming an exotic dancer and applying for the corresponding position).
There are tools that can help you create a professional website for your work interests, while cute kittens are left for Facebook. Also remember – HR people are people, too. So if you are expressing harsh opinions on controversial matters, they might have an opposite one. And if you are not ready to stick to that opinion under a threat of being unemployed, then it’s better not to post such opinion on a public social media profile. It is simply not worth it. In all other respects, there are lots of social media benefits that can boost your employment chances. It is all about how you use it!