It's 2020 and social media is taking over. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter are the most popular platforms with SnapChat and TikTok growing every day. Most of us are on social media on one level or another. Some only pop on to see what's happening with loved ones. And some of us are on it all day for business and pleasure.
Employers like to be able to locate someone on social media because it allows them to gather as much information about a person as possible when making a decision to call them in for an interview. Whether you're active on your profiles or not, simply by having an account (even if your accounts are private) you're relinquishing a certain level of privacy.
When you apply for a job, recruiters and employers are searching social media platforms as a way to do a background check on you. Even if all that they find is a name, a profile picture and a location, they're going to consider those things, along with your resumé, a first impression. This means that simply being ON social media isn't the issue. The issue is when you're using social media in a way that a potential employee sees as troublesome.
It is certainly a free country and no one is asking you to censor yourself in order to find a job, but if a recruiter finds you on your Twitter account and sees controversial imagery or a use of offensive language, you have to accept that it's going to be a red flag for them. Photos or posts glorifying drinking or drugs are also a cause for rejection. Provocative screen names or handles can also seem too far left of a level of professionalism that many employers desire.
Of course, your social media is your choice, but it's important to remember that employers want to hire someone who has good decision-making skills, and obvious smart judgment and ethics If they find your Facebook page and your profile picture is you doing a keg stand, that's going to give them a first impression that might not align with your professional aspirations.
Our suggestions? You don't have to pretend to be someone you're not, but be conscious about what you post, even to a private account. Be sure to monitor posts that other people have tagged you in, as these posts can show up in your public posts if you don't have your privacy settings up to date. And if you’re actively on the hunt for employment, clean up your profile a little even if it's only temporary. Make sure the first impression is a good one, otherwise you could be missing out on opportunities that you could ultimately regret.