With tech today you can easily share whatever you want, whenever you want, on all social media accounts instantly. Isn’t it great? Not really. If you aren’t careful what you share could lower your chances of landing a job.
Picture yourself: a daytime Dr Jekyll ready to graduate, looking for internships and entry job opportunities, trying to write a resume that would sound professional and maybe help you land an interview. As the night falls Mr Hyde shows his face. There you are, feasting like there is no tomorrow, playing beer pong, getting wasted at some wild party. There wouldn’t be anything wrong with it if you keep it for yourself. Unfortunately, your late night sprees get posted, and you get tagged, #hashtagged, pinned, and tweeted.
Remember that whatever goes online stays online, and it isn’t easy to clear up your “reputation” afterwards.
You’re not scared so far, uh?
Now imagine this: your resume gets noticed. The hiring manager is about to make that call but first he looks you up on some social network… is he still gonna make that call?
What is going to read on your profile? What are the pages you “like”? What event did you attend?
Yes, the Constitution gives you the inalienable freedom of thought, expression, and speech, BUT some statements of yours may endanger your chances of being considered for a job. They may also give away traits of your personality or lifestyle your employer should not know, like “who wanna come smoke hookah tonight?” or “I got so drunk last night I couldn’t make it class this morning. I’ll never gonna pass these finals! LOL”.
You need to be as neutral as possible with your statements and pages you “like.”
You may be passionate about a cause, environmentally or politically, but sharing heartfelt thoughts about the Falkland/Malvinas Islands, or the Israeli/Palestinian conflict may backfire on you, if you happen to be on the opposite spectrum of your potential employer.
Here is a little anecdote:
A friend of mine, Helena, has a little vegan restaurant/café/bookstore/campaign site, and was desperately looking for an associate as the business began growing at a very fast rate. The job didn’t have any rocket science requirements, and the salary was way above the pay scale. Needless to say, inquires started floating in.
After narrowing down the applicants and the first round of interviews, Helena was positively struck by a young woman with an MBA and fitting previous experiences, who stated, as first thing during the meeting, she had been vegan for years. Veganism was not a specific requirement, but it would have helped Helena and her business, to have someone sharing the same lifestyle. Helena was pretty sure she wanted to see her again for a second interview.
That same night my friend went online and searched for the young woman’s profile. She made a shocking discovery. The self-identified “vegan-for-years” had pictures all over her profile showing her gourmet meals, and no later than a week before she was in a steakhouse enjoying ribs!
There would have been other reasons why she couldn’t be the perfect fit for the job (lying may be one of them), but thanks to her social media compulsive sharing, there went her chances of being part of a business that reached six figures last fiscal year.
As you polish your resume, don’t forget to do the same with your social media accounts, as they may hold pictures and posts that may push you in the opposite direction of where you want to aim.
Here some tricks:
- If you are not ready to close those accounts, try making them “bulletproof”: set a high privacy level so that no one, except your friends, may see what you share; even better, change your display name so that you may not show up on the search bar.
- Untag yourself from those pictures you don’t even remember taking! Yes, those with random strangers, and those selfies taken in the bathroom with your “best” duck face on! [Hint: the number of selfies taken in the bathroom is said to be inversely proportional to your IQ!]
- Do not log on career websites with your social media accounts such as Facebook and Google+. Build a profile on professional websites instead.
- Create a professional email address. The one from middle school, although you love it so much, should not be used for sending out resumes. No recruiter or hiring manager would ever take something seriously if it was sent from email@example.com
- Use a computer that isn’t yours and google yourself. See if what comes out is what you’d like others to see. Also, you may want to try websites such as Pipl, yoName, and Wink, and search for your name and email and, again, see what it comes out. You’ll be surprised to see what years of internet and signing up have taken you.
Remember that finding a job isn’t easy and the competition is hard. Top up your resume by giving a professional shake to your social media profiles and virtual reputation, don’t let a tweet, a pin or an hashtag trip you up, have them be the wings on your back, not to spit in your face!