We’re all aware that it’s essential to proactively build and protect your online image, but are you aware of the ways in which certain posts can hinder your chances of being hired? Because prospective employers may be able to access what you post on social media, what you write/share could impact your job hunt. Therefore it’s critical that your social profiles reflect the image you’re trying to convey, and that you always consider the effects of your online behavior.
Here at Cancer and Careers we often discuss how people diagnosed with cancer have to take extra precautions when it comes to social media use, since whatever health-related information they share online becomes part of their digital footprint, which can have unintended consequences.
A recent article by The Muse outlines specific instances when negative social media behavior cost promising job applicants the chance to be hired. From those instances, we extracted the specific online actions you should always avoid, especially when in the midst of a job search:
Don’t lie. Sharing untrue information — whether lying about a certain life event (e.g., an illness) or contradicting what you’ve said in an interview — can cost you a potential job. If a hiring manager sees that what you’ve posted on social media is antithetical to how you’ve represented yourself on your application or during an interview, it can raise a red flag.
Don’t post inappropriate pictures/videos. Sharing offensive images and videos could cause hiring managers to rethink their decision to make you an offer. Companies want to ensure that the people they hire are respectful, ethical and won’t damage the organization’s reputation. Before you post, consider how others might react to the content and how it would be perceived in a professional context.
Don’t use harsh or derogatory language. Using expletives or being overly argumentative and abrasive in your comments can cause hiring managers to question your ability to be a team player and/or interact appropriately with clients. Toning down (or completely removing) this type of language is critical if you want to be viewed as a desirable candidate.
In addition, job-seekers shouldn’t focus solely on hiding or removing inappropriate content; instead, they should also devote time to building strong social networks and creating positive online profiles. Remember that whatever you say or do in the digital space can easily become part of your online brand and have positive or negative repercussions when applying for a job.
Our article “Managing Disclosure When Looking for a Job” offers guidance on sharing your health status while looking for employment.
For more job-search resources, please visit the Looking for Work section of our website, which includes access to our free Resume Review service. You can also order or download a free copy of our Job Search Toolkit, which includes tips on writing cover letters, preparing for interviews, networking effectively and much more!