Job Hunting? Beware These Common Social Networking Pitfalls
10% of the United States workforce that is currently unemployed, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor. While statistics aren't available on the number of that 10% who lost their jobs due to social media indiscretions, there are many, many, many examples of people whose status update missteps cost them their employment.
Job hunters: In between writing cover letters and sending out resumes, you may want to take a moment to sanitize your social media profiles! As a guide, John Heaney of the Job Shopper has made an indispensable list of the 5 Ways Social Media Can Cause You to Lose Your Job. It should be required reading for all new profile registrations on Facebook, especially for those expanding their careers.
The gist of Heaney's advice is probably close to what major religions, psychotherapy, and your mother has told you already: be honest and be nice. Lying about your education and qualifications won't get you far, and nor will spewing vitriol about old bosses. Of course, portraying yourself as a slovenly drunken mess isn't a great idea either; it forces HR people to consider how many "sick days" your hangovers will cause.
ONREC, a global online recruitment company, has made another (possibly harsher) guide to social media sanitizing for job hunters that warrants a look. They assert that 68% of employers search for information about prospective job candidates, and that 20% explicitly check social media sites for information about candidates. They've gone as far as to make a ranked listed of the "top ten turn-offs for employers on social networking websites":
1. References to drug abuse
2. Extremist / intolerant views, including racism, sexism
3. Criminal activity
4. Evidence of excessive alcohol consumption
5. Inappropriate pictures, including nudity
6. Foul language
7. Links to unsuitable websites
8. Lewd jokes
9. Silly email addresses
10. Membership of pointless / silly groups
Some of these are pretty obvious - most companies are fairly risk-adverse, and many are skittish to hire someone who seems a little too, um, vivid. If you present yourself like the Amy Winehouse of white supremacists, bragging about having the world's largest collection of empty gin bottles and frightening pornography, you're likely to raise lots of eyebrows and might get some interviews, but far less likely to actually score a new job.
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