How Social Media Can Sabotage Your Job Search


Got passed over for that dream job again? You might want to revisit your social media posts through the eyes of a potential employer. Research as recent as a year ago indicates that one in ten young job seekers aged 16 to 34 in the U.S. lost a job opportunity due to their social media profiles. Worse, 70 percent in that age bracket stated they weren’t even concerned that their social media posts could damage their career prospects.

Let’s say you aced the interview and your résumé is stellar. But if a hiring manager scans your Instagram, Facebook and Twitter posts, it’s easy and fast to get a sense of who you are, your personality, what your priorities are, your level of maturity and how you present yourself to others. This instant information can provide an immediate answer to the question: ‘How good a fit would this potential candidate be in our corporate culture?’

Obviously, presenting yourself positively on social media is common sense. But it surprises me how often a job seeker active on social networks exercises extremely bad judgment in posting content. It’s been said so often that it has become a cliché, but if you’re posting provocative photos, you need to remember that even the most liberal employers routinely perform social media background checks. Of course, if you’re applying for a server’s position at Hooters or as dancer at a strip club, your indiscretions may work in your favor.

By paying attention to the image you’re creating online, you might be surprised to learn that while maybe you didn’t stand out on your résumé, your posts reinforced your people skills and professional image, demonstrated your creativity and showcased your volunteer efforts, along with your wide range of interests. The result? You got the job.


About Sherren Leigh

Sherren Leigh is president and founder of Today's Chicago Woman and Today's Chicago Woman Foundation. She muses about life - the good, the bad, the ugly - and anything else that's on her mind in “Girl Talk.” Sometimes funny, other times serious, she's always thought-provoking and often controversial.