Why do you use social media?
Tweet Celebrities? Catch up with friends? Share funny stories/pictures? Miss out on your dream job? Get bypassed for promotion? Lose your current job?
You might think the last three are a bit far-fetched, but could your digital footprint cause that to happen?
Social Media has become increasingly popular over the last few years; nearly everyone you speak to will have a Facebook account, Twitter account, Instagram or even LinkedIn. The problem is, it is so easy to find, all you need to do is Google someone's name. Whilst you may think that something you post online won’t have a direct impact on your application/relationship with your current employer – it honestly can. Did you know 53% of employers will search for applicants on Facebook before inviting them for an interview? (Taken from a recent survey by Careerbuilder UK)
Whilst the next few headings may seem obvious, taking action and cleaning up the digital dirt on yourself could work wonders on your current job search.
1. Watch what you say about your current/ex-employers
Even if you love your job, everyone has a bad day. Whilst some might phone a friend to have a rant, others feel the need to share it to the world via a facebook status. Bad-mouthing an employer is dangerous, not only do you risk your boss seeing it (there's always a chance they will – especially if you have befriended them online) but also future employers will see it. If your current employer sees it, depending on what you have written, you could face disciplinary action, and in the worst instance be out of a job sooner then you had hoped to be. If a future employer reads it, they could be less inclined to employ someone who is happy to publicly belittle their current bosses.
2. Inappropriate photos
Those pictures from that Sunday Funday have appeared online. You know, the ones that were taken the day before you called in sick... Wait a minute, there’s some that have been posted last month too from a Wednesday night. Whilst your employers can't dictate to you what you do in your time off, with hard-hitting evidence that you were off with a hangover, (think “boy who cried wolf”), or came into work with a hangover (potentially still over the limit) and had to drive customers cars all day will not sit comfortably with them. Make your photo's private, if you don’t want your boss to see them, don’t have them on your very open facebook profile.
3. Foul Language / inappropriate remarks
It goes without saying that these sort of things never go down well. Everyone is entitled to freedom of speech, but strong opinions / argumentative behaviour will shed you in a very negative light. Make your posts private, and above all think about what you are writing online, once you've posted it, it’s not always that easy to make it disappear.
4. Be careful of who you add online
Only add someone you know and have a relationship with, there’s nothing to stop the office cleaner, who you've spoken to once, reporting your posts to HR or your line manager.
5. Make your profile private
There are privacy options on every single social media site to lock down your profile, so only approved people can see the content you share. If you are seeking a new job, it is time to consider doing this.
Whilst the use of social media can be a great tool to help you connect with and get access to employers, remain wary that your digital footprint could lead to more doors slamming then opening in your quest to find yourself your new job.
You can argue that what you do in your private life is your private business, but when you are sharing it online for the world to see, you need to think about how it is affecting your personal brand. Our Career Toolbox provides some great information on how you can make your online presence desirable to your new employer.
One final piece of advice, 10 years ago people still had the same amount of fun as you are having now, and didn’t feel the need/have the option to share it online. Continue doing what you are doing, just don’t post it for the world to see! Don’t get lost in the moment – think twice before hitting that ‘post’ button – a moment of fun or anger can have a significant impact later down the line.