Social media can make or break job opportunities

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According to a study conducted by Harris Interactive last February and March, 37 percent of hiring managers use social networking websites to screen applicants. They look at photos and posts to determine whether or not a candidate would be a good fit for a job.

Because of this, students must be careful about what they post on social networks, especially if they are applying for jobs and internships.

There are many ways someone can job-proof their social network accounts. The easiest is to just not post things you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Think twice before dropping an f-bomb or talking about how you drank so much you can’t remember what you did last night in a status update or tweet.

Also, take a second to think about if you really need to post those pictures from last weekend’s party. Chances are you can survive without sharing them with the world, and if you don’t post them, you don’t have to worry about getting turned down for a job because of them.

If you don’t want your social media profiles to be dictated by your future job opportunities, you can utilize privacy settings to make the majority of your profile invisible to the public.

On Facebook, you can control how people can search for you and what they see when your profile comes up. By making as little of your profile visible as possible to people who aren’t your friends, you can prevent a future employer from seeing any photos or posts you don’t want them to see.

Facebook also allows you to control what you are tagged in. By choosing to review pictures and posts that others tag you in, you can prevent embarrassing photos and comments from showing up on your profile.

For those who don’t want to deal with privacy settings, there is always the option of creating a second account. If you create a professional Facebook or Twitter account and make your personal one less public, it gives an employer something positive to look at.

On a professional account, focus posts on topics that have to do with the field you want to work in or a job you are applying for. A professional account where you demonstrate your knowledge of the industry you want to be a part of can be a great supplement to a resume.

It is also important to be aware of any profiles you may have linked together. Many people allow their posts from Twitter to appear on their Facebook profile. You can also connect various social media outlets with LinkedIn.

You may not be worried about an employer seeing what you post on Facebook, but maybe some of your tweets aren’t exactly work appropriate. Make sure that you monitor your posts consistently on all linked accounts or unlink any accounts you’d rather not have an employer looking at.

If you already have a job or an internship, you may feel like you no longer have to worry about what you post on social media.

However, posts can still get you in trouble even after you’ve landed a job. If you call in sick to work but then post on Facebook about your great day at the beach, a coworker or employer might report you.

Some businesses require employees to add a disclaimer to their social media profiles. Usually, these disclaimers state that all posts are personal opinions and are not affiliated in any way with the company.

Even if your employer doesn’t require you to use a disclaimer, adding one to your profile could save you trouble down the road.

Social media continues to grow in popularity, so it is unlikely that employers will stop using it to research potential employees any time soon.

Make sure your profile is job-proof, especially if you are applying for jobs and internships. It could determine whether you get hired.