Just out of college and wondering why potential employers haven't called you back? If your resume is solid, your interviews fantastic, and you're dressing for success, then it may be time to take a look at your social media presence, as more and more employers are checking social media for clues about their potential hires. In fact, these new "social media background checks" are so prevalent that a recent article by jobs.com found that 1-in-3 employers have rejected a potential candidate based on their Facebook posts.
The bottom line is: social media is just too big to be ignored by employers nowadays, and studies have shown that upwards of 40-50% of potential employers use your social media presence in their hiring decisions.
And these employers are scouting more than just the "obvious" warning signs on your profiles. Besides the tell-tale signs of drug use or excessive drinking, racist or profane language in posts, and illegal activity, employers are also checking your general attitude towards work and life in general.
For instance, did you have a previous, seemingly dead end, job in college and were constantly complaining on Facebook about how much of a jerk the boss was, or how much you hated it? Believe it or not, even if the job was a simple one to raise some beer money at school, employers are taking your attitude towards work seriously. In fact, the same jobs.com article stated that 33% of employers that rejected candidates because of social media, did so due to the fact they had badmouthed previous employers in the past.
But there's steps you can take to "clean up your profile" and here are a few:
1.) Run a review
There are a number of different companies out there, like RepNUp, that can run "social media background checks" for you BEFORE you apply and can spot some of the obvious red flags. But be careful not to rest on your laurels after correcting the mistakes found in these checks, as the software is meant to find the obvious no-no's, and will not always find the posts that can be construed as wrong; such as badmouthing your employer, or remarks that reflect poor communication skills.
2.) Learn about and utilize the privacy settings on social media
Many of the larger social media sites, like Facebook, have a number of different privacy settings that can limit what the public can see. If you're in the job market, it's important that you learn about these settings and take advantage of them. For instance, Facebook has a setting that will limit the number of older posts that can be seen on your profile, and before every post, there are options in the bottom right of the post that allow you to limit who can see it. Additionally, you can also limit what posts you can be tagged in, eliminating the "guilty by association" aspect of social media.
3.) Measure twice, cut once
The best way to avoid being rejected by a potential employer because of your social media posts is to avoid posting these provocative statements in the first place. Always remember that everything you post is potentially public, so if you're in the market for a new job, think twice before posting something that can be seen as detrimental to your hunt. A good piece of advice is to type it out and walk away for a minute. When you come back, read it again. This will allow you to be less emotional when posting, and more objective as to whether or not the post is a good idea.
Finally, run an audit on yourself. Take the time to research your social media presence and carefully evaluate all aspects of your posts. Remember to think outside the obvious, and ask yourself "if you were going to hire you, would this post raise any questions?"