There are a lot of people out there in the job market looking for work right now. And HR representatives have long since started looking to social networking profiles to learn more about job applicants. Can you blame them? With so many people available and applying for jobs, why wouldn’t they want to know as much as possible about applicants’ personalities before hiring someone?
Then again, a lot of folks aren’t all that cautious about what makes it to those public profiles. They don’t really think about anyone but their friends and existing networks looking at the information they post. So they post stupid things without thinking — things that could cost them their dream job. Already have a job? You’re not off the hook. You might find yourself back on the job market if you aren’t careful about what you post online.
Today let’s take a look at five things that probably shouldn’t be posted to your social networking profiles if there’s any chance at all you’ll be job hunting in the future. Don’t just assume you can delete things later. Remember, once something’s on the Internet it’s almost always cached somewhere or reposted by someone else. Anyway, let’s get to it!
Obscene or provocative photos — Unless you want to work as a model (or maybe in a strip club) no one needs to see provocative photos of you on social networks. Not only does this include scantily clad photos, but drunken photos are an even bigger no-no.
- Criticism of your current or past employers — If you bitch incessantly about your boss or a previous job, no one’s going to want to hire you. They’ll just be wondering what nasty little tid bits you’ll be sharing about them if things don’t work out. That’s not to say you should never say something, especially if you feel something was ethically wrong and you don’t plan to work with that company or ones like them again anyway. Just exercise some judgment on that.
- Confidential information — If you learned something and there’s a reasonable expectation of privacy, don’t share it. That goes for both personal things and sharing confidential information about your past employers. If you come across as a constant blabbermouth, you’re telling prospective employers that you can’t be trusted.
- Personal details — It’s not uncommon for social networking profiles to ask you to share anything from your body type to your sexual orientation. While no one should be discriminated against for these things, ask yourself if that’s one of the first things you’d want a prospective employer to know about you even before talking to you personally. If not, leave it out.
Controversial viewpoints —
You might be passionate in your religious or political views. But rest assured not everyone will share them, and if you want to succeed in your job search you’ll have to deal with people from all walks of life. Keep it to yourself, or at least amongst your real friends.
Already posted some of these things, or you don’t plan on stopping? There are other ways around the issue. These tips can help you keep your private information private and out of the hands of Human Resources personnel.
- Set your social network profile to private or friends-only.
- Don’t post photos or controversial remarks in comments on others’ public profiles.
- Only “friend” people you actually know so you don’t accidentally give an HR person access to your page.
- Set up a LinkedIn profile so there is a professional public social networking profile they can view.
- Similarly, consider setting up your own website or blog where you can build some attention in your niche or industry, share your resume, etc.
The most important thing when it comes to social networks affecting your job (or job search) is having the forethought to know that people can and will find them. Never make the assumption that something you post is private. Make sure it is.
Have your social network profiles cost you a job? Why? Does your company use social media profiles in recruitment efforts? In what ways? Leave a comment and tell us about it.