Don't Let Your Social Media Accounts Hurt Your Job Prospects

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Social media has become a remarkable tool for businesses seeking to grow their online presence for their brands and employee culture. The same can be said for your own personal social media presence. Yet, many forget that social media has also damaged brands and could do the same for your hiring prospects if you aren’t smart about your online reputation and history. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Remember, There Are Few Secrets Online

Social media data is aggregated, tracked, and sorted to target the delivery of advertising, news, retail preferences, and more that coincide with your internet use. As such, your online usage can reveal hiring clues to potential employers.

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Keep Your Job Searches Anonymous

If a company is performing poorly and job layoffs are imminent, most job seekers use tools like LinkedIn or HCareers to seek new opportunities without their current employer knowing. As an executive recruiter, I am often aware of layoffs and poorly performing businesses simply by the websites informing me who has viewed my profile. Recently, a high-profile spa eliminated positions, but LinkedIn tipped me off when more than 25 individual employees from the same company viewed my profile in two days. So how can you avoid tipping off others on business social media sites? Go through Google to search a profile to prevent those being viewed from seeing who viewed their profile.

Update Your Profile for Peak Performance

Keeping your profile up to date is the best way for potential employers to align your current skill set with their open positions and be aggregated by new searches that are culling data to target specific work history experience that delivers candidates to that same company. Nearly every employer, recruiter, and candidate nowadays uses LinkedIn, so keep your profile fresh and relevant.

Keep It Clean on Social Media

Never post anything irresponsible on social media. In addition to your résumé, employers today look at Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and many others social media sites to evaluate potential candidates. A job seeker must be

              Michael G. Tompkins

able to stand behind their posts with conviction or be prepared to be excluded from a desired position. Political posts might affect your job candidacy as well as legal statutes within a state. While marijuana use is legal in some states, in others it is not, and having pictures on social media of being engaged in legal recreational activities in your state may be frowned upon in others. Pre-employment positive drug screening in a state where marijuana use is not legal exempts you from being hired. But the narratives in your posts can be just as damaging. Making negative comments about your current employer and the use of profanity, racism, sexism, and even sarcasm on social media sites may discourage an employer from hiring you. Tip: The most damaging social media issue for employers concerns inappropriate photos.

But how do you begin to censor yourself for future career advancement? Common sense should tell you that once a post is public, the world has access to it forever. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind when posting on social media is to expand the Rule of Mom—is your post something you would be comfortable having your mother or your boss read?


Michael G. Tompkins is an executive recruiter with Hutchinson Consulting. To contact him, call (520) 425-6387 or email [email protected].

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