How to Make Sure Your Social Media Doesn’t Cost You a Job

Although social media has played an integral role in the professional world for years, potential job hires still forget how damaging their digital footprint can be.

Potential employers are capable of looking you up and learning more about you in a matter of seconds than you would like. And as it turns out, it’s more common than you think for employers to stop considering you for a position based on what they find online.

A recent CareerBuilder survey found that 60 per cent of employers are now researching potential job candidates on social media.

While the percentage fluctuates between industries, the message is still the same: Don’t lose a job offer just because you forgot to delete those photos from your friend’s bachelorette party.

So as the weeks of job hunting have turned into months and the vision of working at your dream job is becoming hazier, you need got to ask yourself: why are you being ignored? You meet all of the job requirements and have the exact training and education the employer is looking for; what could you possibly be doing wrong?


According to CareerBuilder, there are a number of things that you could be sharing on social media that are sabotaging your shot at landing a job.

The study, which included a sample of 2,186 hiring managers and human resource professionals and 3,031 full-time workers, found that 46 per cent of employers would not hire someone if their social media profiles include anything provocative or inappropriate.

Forty-three per cent of hiring managers reported that they don’t want to see evidence of their candidates drinking or using drugs, while a third of bosses said they wouldn’t hire someone who shares discriminatory posts online.

Finally, 31 per cent of respondents who shared posts that bad-mouthed their former employers were never called back, while 29 per cent of employers didn’t hire someone based on their poor communication skills on social media.

Regardless of how “professional” you think you appear online, there are a number of ways to ensure your profile passes the employer search test.


Google is Your Best Friend
If you search your name, what comes up? If nothing other than your LinkedIn profile appears, you’re in the clear. But if your old Twitter account resurfaces — yes, the one with all of your statuses about your teenage angst — deactivate it immediately. If you’re still using Twitter, you want it to be a representation of your brand. The same rule of thumb goes for any other online accounts you have that could be found incriminating.

Go Private
For the accounts that you do decide to keep, change your settings where necessary to ensure that your private life actually remains private. Privacy settings are especially important to pay attention to on Facebook, as there are many options that control who sees what. You should be monitoring your privacy settings and changing who can see your wall, photos, and likes, who can tag you in photos, and who can look you up. Changing your privacy settings puts you in full control of what your profile looks like to others.

Spring Clean
Now you need to clean up all of your pictures. Some of us have been on social media since high school, so you’ve probably accumulated far too many inappropriate photos over the years. Comb through your pictures and make sure your accounts are free of any photos with racial slurs, offensive language, inappropriate gestures or clothing, and basically anything else you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.

Even if your Instagram account is private, you never know what connections your followers have. You may have thought your spiritual Peyote trip was appropriate to share with your private group of followers, but it turns out your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s friend that you haven’t seen in five years actually works as the hiring manager for the company you just applied to and didn’t find your hallucinogenic experience as life-changing as you did. Just as you should with any other public photos on social media sites, look over all your Instagram pictures and weed out the inappropriate ones.

Now, practice your interview skills.