Recent graduates always want to put their best faces forward when looking for a job. They spend hours polishing their resumes, carefully crafting their cover letters, and making sure they have an outfit to wear to an interview that makes them look as professional as possible.
All of that careful work and polish can be thrown out the window in an instant by a photo of a drunken night out or a string of insensitive comments posted to social media.
Many of us post almost everything we think or do online for everyone to see, and so often, employers are taking social media profiles into consideration when screening job applicants. Depending on the industry, up to 76 percent of employers use social networks to screen potential job candidates — so it’s important for job seekers to understand how what they post online impacts their prospects.
For recent graduates, the idea of employers sifting through their Facebook or Twitter feeds might seem offensive, but employers have good reason to be interested in what potential employees do with their social media presence.
If an employer finds a lot of evidence of a job seeker using drugs or drinking excessively, for example, those could be serious red flags for them. It’s one thing for a job candidate to tout his or her dependability in a cover letter, but if his or her Instagram page is filled with late-night photos from the bar on weeknights, employers have reason to be skeptical, as unfair as it might seem to the job seeker.
Employers also want to be sure that the person they’re considering hiring won’t get them into trouble or create bad PR for them. If a recent graduate has a history of saying insensitive or offensive things on social media, employers may be reluctant to give that person a chance.
No company wants to be on the receiving end of viral backlash from something offensive an employee may have said online.
Likewise, a job seeker who spends a lot of time on Facebook complaining about his or her current position or employer may be seen as a risky hire simply because of their attitude. Employers are always interested in finding out whether or not a job seeker would be a good fit for the organization, and social media gives them a ready-made window into a candidate’s temperament.
Although many recent and soon-to-be graduates might think their LinkedIn page or another career-related social media site is all employers need to see, employers don’t view it that way.
Everything job candidates post online is fair game for employers to peruse and take into consideration when trying to fill a position, so job seekers need to be aware of how everything they post online can affect their chances of getting a new job.
The following guide lays out some of the no-nos for the most popular social media sites, and how they can influence employers. Choosing the right candidates for job positions today means taking note of what they’re saying when they don’t think employers are paying attention.
Cindy Madden is the Communications Manager at Stevenson University’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies. She emphasizes the importance of working adults successfully completing their bachelor’s or earning their master’s degrees to advance their careers.