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5 Social Media Landmines When Applying for a Job
May 9, 2022
Interviewer speaks with interviewee while gesturing to computer screen. Interviewee has concerned expression.

Rebecca was devastated when she didn't get the job at the firm. She had been dreaming of working there for years and was so excited when she finally got the call from Wanda. But when she asked what went wrong, Wanda told her that it was her social media posts that were a problem. 

Rebecca had always been very open on social media, sharing photos of everything she did. While this made her life look exciting and fun, it also raised some red flags with Wanda and the other hiring managers. They weren't sure if Rebecca could be trusted to keep confidential information private or if she would be able to stay focused on work while she was constantly posting about her latest adventure.

Social Media and the Job Market

It's almost impossible to avoid social media these days. With the development of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, it has become a part of our daily lives. 

Ray Barton, Principal at Sultan Virtual Academy, says, “Even teenagers who barely know how to use computers have online profiles and are posting pictures on Instagram.”  

Potential employers often review the social media accounts for applicants.  It is a convenient way for employers to get a glimpse into the lives of their potential employees.

Social Media Landmines

While social media can be a great way to connect with friends and family, it can also be a minefield when it comes to job hunting. 

Mark Stafford, Owner and Creative Director at Ablaze Media, says, “Employers are increasingly looking at the social media profiles of applicants, and anything that reflects poorly on you could cost you the job.” 

Here are Some Things to Avoid on Social Media when you're Job Hunting:

  1. Posting unprofessional photos: Employers are not looking for party animals, so it's best to avoid posting any photos that show you in a bad light. This includes photos of you drinking alcohol, photos of you in revealing clothing, and any other photos that might make you look unprofessional.
  2. Posting negative comments: If you're constantly complaining about your job or boss on social media, employers will take notice. They don't want to hire someone who is going to be a source of negativity in the workplace, so it's best to avoid posting any negative comments.
  3. Posting inflammatory comments: Employers are also looking for red flags when it comes to your political or religious views. If you're constantly posting inflammatory comments on social media, it will make employers think twice about hiring you.
  4. Posting confidential information: If you're working for a company that has strict confidentiality agreements, you need to be careful about what you're posting on social media. If you're sharing confidential information, you could get into trouble with your employer.
  5. Posting inappropriate photos: Even if you're not posting unprofessional photos, you still need to be careful about what you're sharing on social media. If you're posting photos that are sexually suggestive or violent, it will make employers think twice about hiring you.

Review Your Social Media Accounts Before You Apply!

So, take a step back and audit your digital life. Are you portraying the hirable you? If not, it’s time to make some changes. Start by deleting those unflattering photos and scrubbing your social media of any questionable content. 

Be sure to also tidy up your online presence by removing old posts and setting privacy levels that won’t embarrass you down the road. Finally, consider beefing up your LinkedIn profile with recent work experience, education, and accomplishments. It may seem like a lot of effort now, but trust us – it will be worth it in the long run! 

Article Written for SCORE Northern Arizona by Sultan Virtual Academy in Conjunction with Ablaze Media

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Herndon, VA 20170
(928) 778-7438

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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