Picture: Pixelkult/Pixabay
Picture: Pixelkult/Pixabay

Is your social media profile harming your job prospects?

By Londiwe Luthuli Time of article published Mar 11, 2020

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Social media has become an integral part of our lives. This leisurely pastime has gradually moved from being a carefree, social networking space into a measure of one’s character. How and what you use your social networking sites for could have serious implications for your career.

Over time, prospective employers and recruiters have started seeking the aid of social media to assess, screen and evaluate prospective employees.

You don't want to underestimate the power of your social media profiles. Almost 50% of recruiters say they will check on your social media profile before offering you a job. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have integrated the professional into their overly social and personal apps, making social networks more than just a place where one can be unfiltered, provocative and nonchalant. Now you can engage in critical discussions as well as seek and receive useful in-formation with the opportunity to create networks with professionals, companies and recruitment specialists.

For many job seekers, their social media profiles may be standing in the way of them getting ahead in their quest to find and retain employment. Making sure that social media works for you and not against you is incredibly important, particularly for graduates and students who are constantly engaging in the digital world.

There are several common social media mistakes that many people make:

  • Complaining about your boss/colleagues. This also includes talking badly about customers or clients. This can cause a lot of reputational damage, and prospective employers will not want to hire someone who complains about work issues online.

  • Showing pictures of or talking about illegal substances. This makes you seem irresponsible and a law onto yourself. No one wants to hire or work with someone that could be a liability.

  • Political rants. More than half of recruiters see political rants as a red flag.
  • Alcohol consumption and excessive partying can damage your credibility. Most employers and recruitment specialists might see this as an indication that your performance at work will be negatively affected.
  • Risqué and provocative pictures raise concerns. Any picture that shows your riskier side should stay off all your social media accounts that are open to the public and within scrutiny-reach of the next nosy prospective employer.

The bottom-line is simple: don’t come across as a risk hire to employers and recruiters because of your social media presence.  Instead, make it work in your favour by employing smart and appropriate social media etiquette.

Do’s:

  • Create a LinkedIn profile or any professional equivalent to it. That way you can make it accessible to employers, recruiters, companies and other pro-fissional networks.
  • Curate your social networks, utilise privacy settings to make your profiles suitable for public consumption while still maintaining your lifestyle.
  • Avoid using inappropriate language or profanity. Prospective employers and recruitment specialists are cautious of employees that don’t communicate conservatively on a broader spectrum.

  • Pictures and posts that are made public should always present you in the most positive light possible. This is not to say, however, that you shouldn’t be your most authentic self.

Use social media to your advantage. It can prove to be valuable and a helpful tool to landing your dream job.

Londiwe Luthuli is the Head of Recruitment at Lulaway.

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