Be careful what you post: how Facebook can damage your job prospects

Written by: vet times jobs
Published On: 24 Jul 2014

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Image ©iStockphoto.com/pearleye

Since the arrival of social networking and of Facebook in particular, people have become more and more willing to hand themselves over to the World Wide Web. We no longer bat an eyelid over revealing personal info that, a decade ago, would only be reserved for our closest friends.

Inevitably, our modern world of sharing can come back to haunt us, causing particularly serious repercussions when it comes to gaining the positive attention of employers.

Employers use social media more than ever to suss out job applicants, and the smallest detail could make all the difference to your chances.

Your social media profile on sites like Facebook gives a brief overview of your personality so you’d better hope you’re presenting a good one.

What turns off employers?

Because social media provides us with such an instant and easy way to communicate, it’s easy to forget just how much we share on a regular basis and more importantly, what we choose to share.

Reviewing a recent film or restaurant is fine, but if these posts contain offensive language or inappropriate content, that's what employers will use against you in the screening process.

You may have wowed them with your charisma and impressive credentials at the interview but your profile page could tell them another story. A Facebook profile can be home to some pretty incriminating data where employers are concerned. There are many different ways your individual profile can land you in hot water with previous, current and potential employers.

A 2015 survey conducted by employment law consultants Protecting revealed that up to 74% of employers in the process of hiring used Facebook to assess prospective candidates – and, of those, 68% had rejected a candidate based on social media postings.

Reasons for disregarding potential employees included provocative and inappropriate photographs, lying about qualifications, bad-mouthing former employers or co-workers and even posts that revealed poor communication skills.

Private vs. public

Facebook was designed to be personal and sociable but if you don’t want to jeopardise your chances in the world of work, you must learn to keep the deeply private and personal aspects of your life separate from your public persona.

As impossible as it may seem, you can hide personal data from potential employers without appearing as if you have died to your network of friends. You just need to learn to keep two separate identities on Facebook by becoming familiar with certain privacy tools.

If you must share the hilarious drunk photo of yourself from Friday night’s party, then share it with your friends via a private message. They will receive this in their own personal inbox with no harm done to your reputation. You can also set up a "custom" filter whenever you plan to post anything unsavoury. This way, only select friends will be able to bask in your drunken escapades without the picture or details of the incident ever getting back to your potential boss.

Social media is a wonderful tool when used sensibly. Use your Facebook profile to your advantage by highlighting your professional attributes and qualifications and keep your private life private.