Can you survive a social media background check?
Skeletons in the closet, a scary thought. And with our world, so dominated by social media, these skeletons often come in the form of a politically charged status update or an ignored LinkedIn profile, littered with unprofessional comments. In a perfect world, the only thing you have to fear finding its way into cyberspace would be a less-than-flattering photo from middle school. But unfortunately, we did not inhabit this “perfect” world.
Keeping your closet clean of skeletons requires some effort. You might have to watch your words and tone as you type out a status – even if you’re frustrated by the driver ahead of you or if you’re just making a joke. You have to keep an eye on what your friends’ post on your wall and what pictures they upload. It takes diligence to keep a professional social media presence.
Hey, you might not like this fact of life. “Why should employers or recruits care about what I do on my Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn accounts? I do it away from the office.” To that, I would just say, most employers have always cared what you do after hours.
More than just what they, the employers, think, the employers are now concerned what others will think about what their employees are doing. Got that? What you post (or leave posted) on social media reflects on their businesses. Often it’s out and public for the entire world to see. If it’s offensive or unprofessional, it could mean a loss of business and ultimately market share. If you have a questionable social presence, you are not worth the risk for any possible employer.
Employers and recruiters are now using screening companies like Social Intelligence Corps to search through social medias for negative material about applicants. More than ever, your presence on social media is an addendum to your resume.
How many stories are we all going to have to hear about social media costing someone a job before we believe that it happens? A rude comment typed out for everyone to see is even more damaging than a snide, offhanded comment made by the water cooler (which itself, we all know has its negative effects.) Do yourself a favor and pre-screen your own social media. Read your Facebook like someone who doesn’t know you would. Would they think that’s funny or offensive? If you have to ask, go ahead and delete it. A mildly offensive comment (even if it was really funny then) is not worth a potential loss of a job opportunity. Go ahead and start scrubbing that closet squeaky clean!
Kelly Stewart, Chief Brand Strategist and president of YES Career Services is a veteran HR professional, is certified as: Personal Branding Strategist, Professional Resume Writer, Leadership and Career Management Coach, Online Identity Strategist, and is accredited by the International Coach Federation. Resourceful and creative, she is reputed for her dynamic insights and passionate commitment toward helping her corporate and private clients rebrand and position themselves for unbridled success.