5 Simple Rules for Job Seekers to Avoid a Social Media Pandora’s Box

By Sean Jones, VP of Technology & Interactive Media, AIS Media, Inc*.

In today’s job market, both job seekers and employers are increasingly seeking to leverage social media. While candidates use social media to increase their reach, hiring managers are also using social media to screen potential candidates – often prior to an interview. For many candidates, their social media profile can make or break their career.

When used properly, a social media presence can help a candidate stand out from the rest. However, some will never know why they didn’t heard from the company they applied to.  Beer-strewn kitchens, scantily clad co-eds, late night ‘check ins’ or rants on your current employer may all be publically available to potential employers.

Social media, for all its benefit, can be a Pandora’s Box for those who don’t follow 5 simple rules.

1) The Company You Keep
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great resources for social outreach and provide a snapshot view of you and your interests – including your friends, followers and people you follow.  While party, swimsuit or bar pictures may be fun for you and your friends, and potential employer viewing these may question your judgment if your private life is made overly public.  Consider also your groups and interests – a candidate with groups and interest relevant to the career being pursued will most often be viewed as a more viable than the candidate with either no professional groups/interests or whose interests are purely social.

2) Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
Being able to ‘check in’ and share where you are at and what you are doing is a great way to meet up with friends, but be aware of these are often publically available.  Constant check-ins at bars, clubs, etc., particularly through the week and the early hours of the morning can give a potential employer the impression that you party too much or may not be prepared for work the next day.

3) Insider Trading
Every employee is aware of ‘inside’ information about their work place – from corporate politics to business practices to employee complaints.  Facebook status updates, tweets and LinkedIn updates can all be easily seen, and no employer wants to see an employee airing their ‘dirty laundry’ in a public forum.

A potential employer who sees this can only presume that you’d do the same thing at your new job.  Not only might your new employer see this, but potential customers and clients as well, which is a risk most employers simply won’t take.

4) Politics and Religion May Not Be Your Friend
Politics and religion are two areas of conversation best left to close friends, or political candidates.  These topics can be polarizing for potential employers as well as their customers and clients.

While political affiliations, church or religious groups are a common part of many people’s lives, those affiliations are appropriate to bring into the workplace. Considering the continued growth of global business, it pays for companies to watch their Ps and Qs.  Any employer wants their team to work cohesively, and those that may rock the boat too much, could be seen as more trouble than they’re worth.

5) Souring Your Personal Brand
Every post, every tweet, every LinkedIn update has the potential to make or break your social clout and reputation. As more employers screen candidate’s social media profiles, posts that could be considered embarrassing or damaging to an employer can cripple your chances for an interview.

Before you post on a public forum, consider what an employer would think should they see it.  Would it enhance or degrade your image in the eye of an employer? Would you be prepared to discuss the post in an interview? If not, it’s best to avoid posting it publically.

More highly talented and qualified candidates are competing for fewer jobs today. As more companies make use of social media to review potential employees, your online profile has become as important as your credentials.

*AIS Media, Inc. 
3340 Peachtree Road, Suite 750
Atlanta, GA 30326 USA
t: (404) 751-1043 | f: (404) 751-1044



© Copyright 2011 AIS Media, Inc.

Explore posts in the same categories: Job seeker, Social media, Strategy

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