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How social media reflects on your career

Living
 Hiring companies use social media to vet their applicants (Photo: iStock)

Social networking can be detrimental to your career. Over the years, social media platforms have grown to become one of the most dependable livelihoods for people worldwide.

However, there is an assumption that what you post on social media might be for your private network of followers and friends. That notion is misleading as the ‘private’ activities are open to the public, including a potential employer.

So, from presumptuous posts to inappropriate pictures, there are numerous ways social media can sabotage your career or, in other cases, hinder it from starting.

A 2016 study by Jobvite showed that 96 per cent of recruiters and companies use social media to vet candidates, with 55 per cent of recruiters reconsidering candidates based on what was found on their social media profiles.

An article in The New York Times reads, “Your social media presence — and, really, your whole digital footprint — is no longer just an extension of your résumé, adding that “social media use is now a standard of the hiring process, and there is little chance of going back.”

So, to have social media work for you instead of against you, here are tips from experts on how to avoid such gaffes.

Pictures speak a thousand words, and what you post says a lot about the kind of person that you are. Posting inappropriate photos only send a negative message about your personality, especially when seeking employment.

Michael Ball, the founder of Career Freshman, told NBC News, “In college, getting drunk is rewarded. But when you are in a workplace, there are different consequences.”

Most employers want to know the kind of person they will be working with, and social media has made it easy. Always ensure you maintain a clean profile; you never know when a potential employer will come along.

Vicki Salemi, a career expert at monster.com says, “Your social media accounts reflect where you are in your career and how you present yourself to the world. Profiles can positively impact your status as a job seeker if you are posting things that show you are an influencer in the space, knowledgeable, and friendly.”

However, on the other hand, Salemi adds that if you are regularly posting “snarky things with somewhat of a negative tone, that won’t bode in your favour when an employer is trying to get a more complete picture of you as a prospective hire beyond the one-dimensional resume.”

Brent Curves, CEO of Stir Communications Group, notes that “There is so much misinformation and confusion about ‘privacy settings’ on social networking sites these days, so a good rule of thumb is to operate under the opinion that everything is public, period.”

Always watch what you post since that one comment might not cost you the current job but haunt you while looking for another one.

Are you the cranky critic who does not shy off from abusive and offensive remarks? The open-minded person who comments on almost all subjects, from politics to religion? As someone with a professional career, you might want to tone down.

Salemi says, “These can be viewed as a reflection of not only who you are, but the potential inability to handle yourself professionally.”

Avoid sharing your latest job offers. While it is natural for someone to get excited when they land a job offer, it is important to take note of what you post or sometimes do not post the offer until the offer becomes official.

Lastly, do not post on social media when you should be working.

David Haisha Chen, the CEO and co-founder of Strikingly.com says, “Are you blogging or Facebooking during work hours when you shouldn’t be? Your boss or a vindictive, catty co-worker can easily catch on, landing you a warning or a meeting with the HR Department.

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