6 Reasons Your Social Media Accounts May Be Hurting Your Job Prospects
1 year ago

Social media is a big part of modern life and we’re not leaving anytime soon. It can be a great space to share pictures, join in discussions or connect with other people. But while we may think it’s only our friends who care to look at what we’re posting, that’s not always the case.

A recent study showed that 67% of hiring decision-makers use social networking to research candidates. Not only that, but 55% had decided not to hire a candidate based on what they’d found. This means your social media profiles can now directly affect your chances of getting a job.

Just like a recently graduated student would think about how to maximise employment prospects from their work experience. So they, and you, should think about how to harness your social media presence to improve your chances of being hired. 

So if you’re looking for a new job and want to make sure your social media is up to scratch, there are a few aspects to consider. 

  1. Unflattering pictures

  • Unflattering pictures

  • Unflattering pictures

    No, not pictures where you have a double chin or red eye. Think of images where you might be displaying behaviour that could concern your new potential boss. Remember, what may seem natural and innocent enough in a personal setting, may come across badly in the recruitment process.

    A picture paints a thousand words, so if your profile is flooded with pictures of you drinking alcohol and partying, you’re already saying a lot. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun, but look at the image you’re putting across from their perspective. If you don’t like it, chances are they won’t either. 

    1. Bad-mouthing your current employer

  • Bad-mouthing your current employer

  • Bad-mouthing your current employer

    We’ve all done it, certainly in private. It’s very easy at the end of a hard day to come home and let off some steam to anyone who will listen. When it’s your friends, family or partner, that’s not likely to result in any issues.

    But if you take to social media to vent your spleen you could end up in hot water. Even if you are justified, other employers may not see it that way. To them, you might come across as negative and unprofessional. 

    Think about it from their point of view. If you are complaining about your current employer on social media, what’s to say you won’t do the same to them?

    1. Language

  • Language

  • Language

    First and foremost, it’s best to keep swearing off your social media. If you call a business and hear a message saying “call recorded”, you’ll immediately be on your best behaviour.

    The same goes when you’re communicating publicly online. While you and your friends may not be offended by curse words, other people are. Take a look through your posts and edit or delete rude words where necessary.

    In addition to this, you also need to think about the quality of your language. For example, an employer hiring a new content manager will want to know they are familiar with the best practices for content marketing and analytics. However, they’ll also want to know they have excellent spelling and grammar skills. If they check through your Instagram and see it littered with errors, it will likely ruin your chances. 

    1. Offensive content

  • Offensive content

  • Offensive content

    It should go without saying, but any racist, homophobic, transphobic or sexist content is unacceptable. Even if you think you’ve never posted or said anything like that, go through old posts and check. Something you may have thought wasn't offensive at the time, you (and others) may view differently now. 

    It is always important to be sensitive and tactful when interacting with other people in your daily life. You never know when someone may be dealing with mental illness or living with a hidden disability. Likewise, you should always be sensitive online. Even a throwaway reply or comment could be hurtful to others.

    It is best to be thorough, even if you consider something to be a joke, delete it. Employers will have a zero-tolerance policy on this and you should ensure you always use inclusive language going forward. 

    1. Who you follow

    Who you follow

    You may have a squeaky clean profile, free of all the above-mentioned concerns. However, don’t forget that a potential employer may well take a look through the list of accounts you follow as well. 

    This is a natural step to take if you want to know what people are really interested in. If you only follow your friends, then you’re probably okay. But if you follow any other accounts, such as celebrities and businesses, think about what their public image is.

    Be particularly careful of public figures, organisations or groups who have expressed extreme or offensive views. Following them may indicate that you agree with their beliefs and that will concern employers. 

    1. No presence at all

    No presence at all

    All these things considered, it may be tempting to remove yourself from social media entirely. You might think this will avoid unwanted scrutiny and prevent your social media from being taken into account in the recruitment process.

    However, having no social media at all can be its own concern for employers. These days it’s highly unusual and it may make them question what you have to hide. At the very least, you should have a professional LinkedIn page. 

    As a compromise, you could increase the privacy settings on your other accounts. But even then, tidy up the parts an employer could see. Think about it like this, if you wanted to make business calls from your personal phone, then you’d use a business caller ID

    Similarly, when you want your personal social media to look attractive to potential employers, give it a professional appearance. This can be as simple as a smart profile picture and a well-written bio. 

    Do some social media housekeeping

    Even if you think you have nothing to worry about, take a second look. Check through your accounts and try to view them through the eyes of an employer. Would you hire yourself? 

    Answer that question honestly and then make any changes necessary. There’s a good chance that when you apply for a job these days, the person hiring will be googling your name. Make sure that you’re looking your best. 


    Jenna Bunnell - Senior Manager, Content Marketing, Dialpad

    Jenna Bunnell is the Senior Manager for Content Marketing at Dialpad, an AI-incorporated cloud-hosted unified communications system that provides valuable call details for business owners and sales representatives using Dialpad’s cloud-based PBX system. She is driven and passionate about communicating a brand’s design sensibility and visualizing how content can be presented in creative and comprehensive ways. Check out her LinkedIn profile.

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