Posting racy photos and controversial remarks won’t get you as much press as former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s display of his political briefs, but they can cost you in your job search.
This has been a constant warning to job applicants, but the threat is more real than ever now that the Federal Trade Commission has allowed Social Intelligence Corp. to perform background checks on the Internet activity of job seekers. This means that your entire online history is fair game — even if you think it is private.
A recent Vault.com survey showed that while 93 percent of employers claim they haven’t rejected a candidate based on their social media presence, more than a third of recruiters do examine the social networks of applicants. That number is probably higher than they would like to admit, and will be even higher in the future now that there are companies out there willing to do such work.
So what’s a job seeker to do?
Stop trusting privacy settings
Privacy settings are not 100 percent reliable. If someone wants to find information out about you, they will. The fact that you tried to make it private won’t stop them from using that information against you. The less you trust a privacy setting, the more you might want to stop posting objectionable content.
Keep your image professional
According to the Vault survey, 60 percent of recruiters thought candidates should take steps to hide their personal pictures, and only 51 percent of job seekers said they actually do. But why post them in the first place?
Pictures of you drinking or scantily clothed, or even that fun shot of you holding a samurai sword, could make you appear to be a risk in a recruiter’s eyes, no matter how cool you look to your friends.
The truth is, you don’t look cool without a job, so stop sabotaging your search.
Your friends can hurt your career
It only takes one friend tagging a photo of you looking intoxicated — which will put the picture on your profile —to ruin your chances at getting a job. Recruiters will see these pictures.
Ask your friends not to tag you in photos, and be vigilant and de-tag objectionable photos.
Keep your religious and political views to yourself
Before social media, it was said that you should never discuss religion or politics with friends. Follow that philosophy online.
Think of social media as your resume
You know you work hard; you know you always get the job done. Recruiters don’t. Put yourself in their shoes and make sure your online presence represents the type of person you would hire for a job.
Vault is the trusted source for professionals and students pursuing and managing high-potential careers and employers seeking to engage them. Read more at www.vault.com.