Can Social Media Affect Employability?

Can Social Media Affect Employability?

What do you post on your social profile so as not to affect your employability?

According to research by US global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas; and another UK-based study by data analysts Gartner, 60% of employers check social media profiles of employees and prospective employees. Most frequently this is done during the recruitment of potential candidates, but there is nothing to stop bosses also searching for the social media footprint of current staff. Having an embarrassing photo or other item on social media could therefore affect your employability.

Further research by online jobs site Career Builder reveals that more than 40% of companies have, at some time in the past, rejected at least one candidate because of what they discovered about the individual on social media. Their reasons for doing so included social media profiles that:

  • Revealed the candidate lied about their qualifications in their application
  • Reported them getting drunk or taking drugs
  • Involved racist or other offensive remarks
  • Boasted about them having wasted time on non-work tasks when at work
  • Involved an individual stating they had faked an illness to get a day off, or else explained what else they had been doing on a supposed ‘sick day’
  • Showed the individual to have engaged in some form of ‘cyber bullying’

No one is realistically going to give up their entire social life to prevent issues in this area, so here we look at some useful steps you can take to reduce the risks:

  • Try and delete any of your own posts that show you in a bad light
  • Where you have been tagged in potentially embarrasing photos by other people, try and get yourself untagged
  • If you use twitter, pin a tweet that shows you in a good light at the top of your profile
  • Consider starting a blog that demonstrates you know your chosen career well, and post a link to this blog on your social media profiles
  • Think carefully before accepting friend requests and the like from your colleagues, especially those at higher levels in the company. Even accepting requests from colleagues at the same level could cause issues if they subsequently get promoted above you
  • Don’t include your place of work on your profile
  • Post details of workplace achievements, but leave out any gripes about your employer
  • If the social media site allows, set your profile setting to ‘private’
  • If you are offered a new job, don’t announce the good news on social media until all formalities have been completed with both the old and new employer
  • Above all, never update a personal profile on a social media site while at work

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