Social Media and your career

If you use social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) have you ever thought about whether the views and information you share might affect your career prospects? In this blog we’ll look at social media posts that have hit the headlines and we’ll offer advice on steps you can take to ensure your social media doesn’t hinder your future prospects.

For most of us social media has become an essential communication tool. It’s an easy way to stay in touch with friends across the globe but it’s recently hit the headlines when views shared online have had career damaging repercussions.

Earlier this month Toby Young resigned from his new post at the Office for Students after facing criticism for controversial views he’d expressed on Twitter. Just last week Phil Neville deleted his Twitter account after accusations of sexist tweets. And back in November Jack Maynard left I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! after facing allegations of racism and homophobia for his tweets. All three were quick to issue public apologies and expressed remorse for their “ill-judged”, “ill-advised” or “completely unacceptable” comments.

But what does this mean for you? You’re not a celebrity or in a high-profile, public position is anyone really interested in your social media? Yes! A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates so think carefully about what you post before you share anything.

Privacy Settings

If you don’t want everything you post to be viewed by a potential employer check your privacy settings. In Twitter you can protect your tweets and in Facebook you can edit your privacy settings and view your own public profile. Why not Google yourself and see what might come up should an employer Google you. You can then edit your social media to ensure you haven’t shared anything you’d rather an employer didn’t see.

I’ve heard of Head Teachers asking at interview what they might find if they Googled a candidate…and then Googling the candidate in the interview. If you’re a teacher your pupils might look you up online…what will they find?

Think twice before you post

Jack and Phil’s tweets dated back to 2012 and Toby’s to 2009, while an employer’s unlikely to go that far back in history it’s just not worth posting anything that could be considered offensive or discriminatory.  Are you sharing memes or views that could offend? Think twice and if you’re in doubt don’t post it!

Try LinkedIn

If a potential employer’s looking for your online profile to back up information you’ve given about your work history, degree or professional background why not have a professional social media presence? 92% of recruiters who use social media to screen candidates use LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is an employer’s preferred platform you should create a strong professional LinkedIn presence so there’s no need for them to look at your other social media profiles. If you’d like help building a strong LinkedIn profile our Careers Advisers can help.

For more hints and tips on managing and optimizing your online profile check out these employer videos on My Careers Centre.

Make your online presence work for you

It’s not all doom and gloom, using social media in the right way can help your career prospects. Detail your skills and achievements on LinkedIn to make it easier for recruiters to find you.

Use your social media to show a passion for areas your degree title might not – if you love sport, food, travel etc and want a job that’s linked why not start blogging or use Twitter or Instagram to demonstrate your passion?

Join LinkedIn groups relevant to the job sector you want to work in and stay up to date in the field. Employers will often ask what you know about their sector and being in, and commenting positively within relevant groups will show you’re eager to be involved and keen to learn.




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