How Poor Social Media Use Can Destroy Your Job Prospects

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By Joe Paley, Account Executive [email protected]

 

In an of age technological innovation social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn play a serious role in the recruitment process – one that cannot be overlooked.

According to a study by Execu.net, 90% of recruiters research social media accounts of potential candidates before deciding who to interview. However only 27% of candidates are given the opportunity to explain their online presence. Employers are savvy; they are adapting to the digital climate and understand that posts on social media channels can tell them as much about a person’s character as a CV or cover letter does.

Candidates should therefore take their profiles on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn seriously. Posting thought-provoking content is likely to impress employers. In contrast, crass shares/re-tweets, controversial political positions and poor use of the English language will do the opposite. Regulating social media accounts can be the difference between securing an interview and being rejected from the entire process.

Here is how to ensure that your CV is not desecrated at the bottom of an employer’s bin due to poor social media use:

No vulgar language. Swearing connotes a lack of a sophisticated grasp of the English language and an uncultured mind-set to many employers. Put rational posts before emotional ones. Nothing stands out more than vulgar language.

Avoid re-posting messages from accounts that are mean-spirited.  Whilst the material is written by somebody else, re-posting something can be seen as a form of endorsement. Only put material under your name that you condone.

Limit argument. Debates on serious topics can show potential employers that you have an understanding of key issues within society and are confident enough to use your knowledge to disagree with others. However, arguing over a football match or a night down the pub does the opposite; it shows pettiness.

Write a sensible biography and upload an appropriate profile picture. Whether an employer is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or any other social media platform, the profile picture and biography will be their first interaction with you. Pick a suitable image. On LinkedIn, a professional one is required. The same goes for Twitter, which has developed to become a key area for professional interaction. Facebook on the other hand can be more private than professional, although a fitting, clean-cut profile picture is still essential.

Go the extra mile. Making sure that your social media feeds contain no risky material is one thing. But by participating in discussions with important contacts within the relevant industry you can show a real passion to network and understand current debates.

The key to social media is to be vigilant at all times. Rationality must come before emotionality, every time. Always be self-aware by running searches to ensure your name is not linked to anything even remotely unsuitable.

Politician Anthony Weiner and former CNN editor Octavia Nasr are two high profile casualties of ignorant social media use. And most recently, 20 year-old Mhairi Black, the youngest MP since 1667, was called to resign from her new position after it was discovered she had previously used vulgar language in tweets.

A study by Reppler found that 68% of recruiters hire candidates based on the competence of their online profiles. Therefore, always be serious and vigilant. Social media platforms are an extension of your CV – treat it that way.