How Social Media is Costing You Your Dream Job

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Business social media people network in a cloud of company speech bubbles colors.

Interactions on social media can have an effect in your professional life.

By Brett Pucino

According to a 2014 survey by CareerBuilder, 51 % of employers have disqualified a candidate for questionable content on their Social Media profiles. That picture of you passed out on the bar in college probably got you a lot of likes on Instagram. Your potential employers weren’t one of them.

Why you Need to Scrub Social Media.
If you’re like me, then you probably think the idea of potential employers stalking you online as an invasion of privacy. I resisted the scrub and kept up my college Social Media habits. And guess what? Not one bite from any of the agencies on Madison avenue looking for copywriters.

This is when I started to see myself as a brand. I thought: “What image do I want potential employers to see so they are enticed to “buy” me as an employee?” This shift in perception made me realize having no filter on my Social Media activity was keeping me from my dream job.

Why Employers are Google-Searching You
Look at it as if you were an employer. What’s the one thing you wish you could know about a potential employee? Your answer should be how they interact with co-workers.

There’s a reason why everyone says “people-person” as a strength in a job interview. Saying that you’d probably save your cat’s life over 99% of the people on the planet isn’t going to land you many jobs. How you interact with people on Social Media provides employers with a glimpse at how you will interact with your co-workers. That rant you wrote about your last boss might have already cost you your dream job.

Here’s the 5-step process for making your Social Media profiles job-search friendly.

The 5-step Social Media Scrub
1. Remove all questionable photos
Obviously most people searching for a job know to remove those really bad photos, but you’re most likely not being prude enough. How prude you have to be depends on your career field. For example, girls looking to become teachers shouldn’t even have a bikini picture of them on the Internet. According to the CareerBuilder survey mentioned above, “ provocative or inappropriate photos” were the number-one reason why employers disqualify a job candidate, at 46%. You know how the saying goes- make sure those 1000 words are saying the right things.

2. Make all accounts private and change your display/usernames
A popular move is to just change your Social Media names to a pseudonym and make all of your accounts private. This is certainly effective, but be sure to still remove potentially incriminating photos or posts. Anything with your name attached could still technically come up in a Google search. Chop down friends list to people you’re actually friends with. You’re supposed to lose touch with most of the people you went to high school with. You don’t need to stay friends with your “bff” you haven’t talked to since prom just to like every status or picture that involves a life milestone. If you haven’t talked to someone at all in the last six months, then you should delete them from your friends list or reach out to re-connect if you think the relationship is important enough.

4. Google Yourself
Google is like that one ex who finds you after you ditched all traceable communication and moved to a different country. When you type your name into Google, your name is a keyword. This means any time your name as appeared on the Internet is fair game for results.  Search your name after the first three steps and see if everything questionable is gone.

5. Rinse and Repeat
If you find anything else in your Google search, then repeat the process. Some things you might not be able to remove easily. You can counter this through rebranding yourself to make you look more attractive to employers.

Do you have any tips to share on scrubbing your Social Media account? Drop them in the comment box below.

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About Author

Amanda Mester has been writing professionally for a decade, focusing mostly on music journalism. Also a former college professor, Ms. Mester currently writes for esteemed Hip-Hop and lifestyle outlet Ambrosia for Heads and is hoping to finish her first book soon. She is also Ploymint's Assistant Editor in Chief. Find her on Twitter @CanEye_KickIt

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