Social media and the job search

How social media has messed up the job search

Written by Kevin Makra
Posted on

Social media has become a crucial part of the job search. Many employers not only have a presence on social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, but also engage candidates using these platforms. For the many ways that social media has benefited the job search, there are also some major downsides that can have huge negative consequences.

Here are some ways that social media can crush your job search efforts:

An Employer Finds Inappropriate Content About You

Whether you like it or not, employers may search social media sites to learn more about you as a potential candidate. What will they find? Are those pictures of you intoxicated at your friend’s birthday still online? Is that post of you ranting about bad service you received from a store clerk (using some not so pleasant language) still appearing when your name is searched? Be meticulous and remove every picture, post or tweet that may appear inappropriate to a potential employer.

In a recent survey, employers identified the six types of social media posts employers least like to see on your profile:

  • Illegal drug use
  • Sexual posts/tweets
  • Profanity
  • References to guns
  • Drunkenness

You Don’t Think Before You Type

Combine instantaneous and spontaneous communication together and what do you have? A recipe for disaster! One wrong post or tweet can sink you and that online brand you worked so hard to build can come crashing down! Always think before you type. As a rule of thumb, never send out a negative post or tweet without waiting 5 minutes to think about its repercussions. If it’s not something you would show your mom, chances are it’s not something you want an employer to see either.
Also, hastily cranked out posts that contain misused words, poor grammar or spelling mistakes may not seem like a big deal when chatting with your friends, but they can give future potential employers a negative impression of your language skills.

Having No Social Media Presence At All

So you have decided the best way to ensure an employer doesn’t see anything inappropriate is to remove your social media profiles completely? Think again! Not having any online presence signals to an employer that you may not be tech savvy. This is an important skill for many employers. Take the time to clean up your current online profiles, or at the very minimum use one social media site to showcase your relevant information.

When used responsibly social media can be a great way to advertise your brand. However, if used carelessly social media can stop your job search dead in its tracks! Stay clear of the pitfalls above, and social media will always be a great asset in your job search.


Kevin Makra is the President of Sentor Media Inc., and founder of DirectoryOfCareers.ca. He can be reached at kmakra@sentormedia.com.

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