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Social Media and Finding Employment

Connor Edrington, Staff Reporter

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Social media has proven to be an asset in a variety of ways. It’s proven to be a great resource tool in communicating virtually, networking with others, and sharing content. But sometimes, many forget to be mindful of the content they post, which can then lead to their downfall, especially when applying for jobs.

In a Forbes article from 2013 journalist Kerry Hannon reported the biggest reasons why employers didn’t hire potential candidates was because of how they utilized their social media.

The reasons, as stated by Hannon in the article, are as follows: inappropriate photos – 50 percent, information on profile of drinking or drug use – 48 percent, talking poorly about previous employer – 33 percent, lack of communication skills –  30 percent, racist, sexist, etc. remarks – 28 percent and dishonesty about qualifications – 24 percent.

Amber Arnold, a career coach/employer liaison at the Career Development Center at IU Southeast, said that they do not have a lot of people come in about social media profiles unless it is to get help with managing or making a Linkedin account.

“I think people [do not] consider how their personal social media accounts also effect that,” said Arnold.

Arnold said that they would be willing to talk with people about their profiles and address what potential job employers would be looking for in potential candidates.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as making sure that the things you want private are made private, but also it’s about considering how the things that are public, reflect [the individual],” said Arnold.

Arnold shared a PowerPoint  designed to help with professional etiquette. The PowerPoint, created by Misti Jones, the assistant director of career and development, talked about some of the dos and don’ts of maintaining  a social media platform. Jones said this PowerPoint was also created for one event, but if it would help students who were interested, they may consider having a workshop or class to talk about social media.

One of the things the PowerPoint said to do is to ensure that you have setup the proper security settings that you want for your profile. Next, remove any content that may be controversial or cause people to become upset and maintain a positive persona whenever using social media.

The PowerPoint also advised people not to ask about potential jobs through social media and to not post negative remarks about searching for a job. It also gives an example of how one’s actions on a social media platform can lead to not getting the desired job wants or losing their current job.

Justine Sacco, a senior director of communications at Barry Diller’s IAC, was fired after making this tweet which you can view here on New York Mag, and the text of the tweet is as follows: “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

Arnold said even though a person using social media may be appropriate and following all the steps to have a positive social media presence, an employer may not like the grammar and language that one is using online.

Erin Stevens, a corporate recruiter with a large manufacturer, spoke over email about the likelihood that someone would be turned down because of their social media account.

Stevens said that they would never fire someone unless they were defaming or threatening people with their social media account. She also spoke about how in her role she would only ever access potential candidates’ LinkedIn account.

“I look at their job, where they are currently working, and if anyone has recommended them,” said Stevens.

Stevens said that one should make sure that their social media is one that their grandmother would not be embarrassed to see.

“I think any form of social media should reflect who you are as a person and should be authentic,” Stevens said. “If in doubt, lock your account down. Change privacy settings, but keep in mind your goal of social media.”

Stevens said that she uses her social media for personal reasons.  

I have made some exceptions, but it really depends on how authentic I can be with them,” Stevens said. “For my LinkedIn, that is strictly professional, and I keep it so. I’ll connect to anyone, but my expressions are representative of my company and my job, not my ‘personal brand.’”   

Stevens also said that they do not require potential employees to share their social media profiles.

An article by USNews, talked about how not having the right kind of social media profile could prevent one from getting the job one wants to pursue.

In the article, it said that there are things that most employers look for in a social media profile, such as: proof of qualifications, a level of professionalism on the profile, comments about the candidate and any reasons not to hire the candidate.

In the USNews article, they also reported that a survey from CareerBuilder showed a rise in employers looking at social media accounts. The percentage of employers looking at social media profiles was at 70 percent, as compared to 11 percent in 2006.  

Here are a few tips listed by Monster Worldwide Inc. to ensure that one’s social media platform does not prevent him  from getting the job that he’lly apply for:

  1. Having a private profile
    1. The article stated that by not showing up online, it can give off the idea that you are hiding something or have nothing to show.
  2. Having fake followers
    1. The people that follow you are more important, not the amount. The article states that people in your field look better than the amount of people.
  3. Having an inactive account
    1. The article shares that most employers like to see that you know how to engage with an audience. Simply having a profile doesn’t make you look interesting. They say that one must commit to their “online brand”, even if it is just sharing other people’s posts.

The monster article also outlines that what employers find on your social media profile can give “you a leg up” and also ultimately lead one to not obtaining the job.

In the article they address a statement made to The Huffington post by Matt Lanier, a corporate recruiter at Eliassen Group.

“It’s the recruiting world we live in now,” said Lanier. “If the candidates are willing to publicly post something on social media, a potential employer has every right to factor it in when considering you for a job.”

If you are worried about your social media account you can reach out to the Career Development Center at IU Southeast to get help with your account. If you are worried about others seeing your social media account try locking down your account, just remember that it will appear locked if an employer looks you up on a social media platform.

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Social Media and Finding Employment