Social media has become an important part of how most people interact. Websites including Facebook and Twitter have become where we share our successes, our failures, and pictures of what we had for dinner.
Simply searching someone's social media feeds can tell you a lot about that person. That can bring people together and create stronger connections, but it can also lead to sharing things sometimes best kept private.
For job seekers, social media can help recruiters learn more about you. That's great if they find out what sports teams you root for and how cute your pets are. It's also fine if they learn about your fitness habits or where you last went on vacation.
Social media, however, can also do a lot of damage. A recent survey showed that 70% of U.S. business managers decided not to hire a job candidate based upon something found out about the person online, CNN reported. That means any person looking for a job should scrub their online presence and avoid the following mistakes.
Keep your politics to yourself
While a company can't legally deny you a job because of your political views, hiring managers are people too. If someone in charge of hiring sees vocal positions they disagree with or even ones that fall outside the overall company's leanings, that could be enough for your resume to go into the "no" pile.
Avoid the party pics
That shot of you and your extended family in formal attire holding champagne flutes in the air toasting grandma's 100th birthday is probably fine. The one where your friends have you held upside down by the ankles as they funnel beer into your mouth, probably not.
Don't be racy
You may be comfortable in a Speedo or a skimpy bikini, but the person doing the hiring may not be comfortable seeing you that way. Keep your images PG. Basically, if you wouldn't show it to your most conservative friend or relative, don't put it online.
Watch your language
Again, it seems obvious, but make sure your posts only use words that could appear in a PG movie as well. You may think that Samuel L. Jackson movie quote sums up your thoughts perfectly, but the recruiter or hiring person may not.
Don't complain about work
While social media feels like an open forum where you can complain to your friends, it's openness goes beyond people you actually know. If you complain about your current employer, that may make a potential new employer wary. Nobody wants to hire a malcontent and even if you have a valid complaint, keep it off social media because of the impression it creates.
Keep your side hustles quiet
If you have a hobby, that's fine to share on social media. If you have a side job or passion project you hope to someday turn into a career, that's another thing entirely. A company may be wary of hiring someone whose true passion is doing something else.
Cautious is better
Social media can easily derail your chances of being hired so you should delete anything you would not be comfortable handing to the person interviewing you. Be careful to not just check the major social media sites, but also any secondary one you participate on.
You simply don't know what might offend the person making hiring decisions or what might make them decide to not interview or hire you. Be as cautious as you can because it's always better to get an interview and have a chance at getting the job.
Use social media to communicate and to keep in touch, but be mindful of what you post and even how you react to other's posts. Every action you take online creates a record that could ultimately come back to haunt you.