There was a time when an impressive resumé and a killer interview were enough to get your dream job. But in the age of technology, a power player steps into the game that strongly affects your potential employers’ hiring decision: social media.
I had a colleague once who posted on Facebook, “It’s Monday again! Welcome to hell.” Attached was a selfie of her in our office then. I must admit, I did “like” that photo. Our boss, however, was not as impressed and readily messaged her to take it down and to never do it again. She was lucky nothing else happened. But this isn’t always the case.
93 percent of recruiters admit to checking the social media profiles of possible employees. This includes checking their tweets, Facebook status updates, and Instagram photos, among others. Some companies even propose constantly keeping track of their employees’ accounts.
Social media profiles aren’t measures of an employee’s capability to get the job done. But some use this to identify one’s personal conduct on a social level.
Let’s brush up on some web presence etiquette that can make Google results of your name a safe search. Let’s face it, that sexual joke you just posted may just win over your Facebook friends, but definitely won’t impress your boss.
#1 Don’t hate tweet or rant about work online
Keep some unnecessary comments to yourself. A 16-year-old girl from the US posted on Facebook about how her job was “boring” and was fired weeks after.
Whining or complaining about how “bored at work” you are and how the “same shit, different day” applies to your workweek reflect poorly on your professionalism. My former boss once addressed the team, “If you find work boring, be my guest. Do yourself a favor and leave.”
#2 That cool middle finger photo won’t get you that promotion
Your online image isn’t your alter ego; it’s a reflection of your professional image, too. Scandalous party photos, overexposed cleavage, and photographic evidence of sexually charged situations may undermine your chances of rising up the ranks. If you want to show your friends “you have a life,” you can customize your album settings so only they can see it. As for that profile photo, keep it G-rated through and through.
#3 Make friends with good grammar
Sometimes it’s not what you say but how you say it. Yes, bad grammar can cost you a job. About a third of those who check social media for candidates say that something as simple as consistently misusing punctuation marks and misspelling words can be dismissed as “poor communication skills.” Here are some other grammatical errors they consider.
#4 Only say things you’d be comfortable sharing in front of your boss, colleagues, and clients
If you don’t dare say it in the office, consider not saying it online either. Constant use of foul language and curses is a fast way to diminish your credibility, much more if they are derogatory. Also be wary in making charged statements on race, religion, gender, and age as these may be taken against you. Opinions are okay, but it’s always your words against the rest of those who read them.
#6 If you’re on sick leave, no vacation photos please
If it’s a “sick day” when it isn’t, never post #salontreatment #gymtime, etc. Don’t wait for your boss to like your selfie photo at the mall before you realize you just blew your own cover. Make most out of your vacation leaves.
#6 No bad-mouthing other employees
If a co-worker gets a promotion before you do, don’t talk smack about them. Office rumble? Talk it out and keep it outside. A scorned co-worker over a nasty comment of yours can backfire on you.
#7 Stay clear of your history
A Belgian fan discovered while watching the World Cup 2014 was offered a modeling contract by a beauty brand. Hunting photos of her resurfaced on Facebook causing the brand to take back the contract.
You don’t know what recruiters can unearth from decades-worth of archived data. Un-tag yourself from uncompromising photos, stay clear of angry comment threads, and erase traces of probable teenage angst posts.
#8 Don’t be a negatron. Be an optimist prime!
Nothing beats a positively charged employee. Comment on work-related achievements you’re proud of, celebrate a good promotion, whether it’s yours or a colleague’s, and even throw in some good morning Insta-quotes in the mix—but never brag.
Overall, a healthy and professional environment doesn’t and shouldn’t just stay in the office. Bring it online, too.
Art by Dorothy Guya