How Social Media Affects Your Career Growth

Are you currently seeking a new job or advance into a leadership position within the organization you work for now?
If either of the above scenarios is you or could be you in the future, it’s time to make sure your social media profiles match the persona you are presenting to future and current employers.

You’re thinking, “What I do on my personal time shouldn’t make a difference as long as I’m doing a great job at work, or my experience and skills meet all of the requirements .”

Yes, your time is yours, but it’s open to the public when you post on social media. Even if your profiles are private, someone in your network could share.

Did you know that many employers utilize social media to prescreen candidates in the process of hiring? And that your current employer is most likely checking even though you’re already a part of their team? They want to know their employees are not doing anything to jeopardize their online reputation or behaving in a manner that does not align with the company culture.

Misuse of social media could have severe repercussions and harm your chances for new opportunities or future advancement within the company you currently serve.

For example, if you go out with friends and decide that belly shots or getting captured on video in a nasty brawl are funny, then think twice.
Remember, even if you aren’t the one posting, it’s still out there.
They could misinterpret something someone posted about you or a controversial view you’re sharing.
When organizations scan your social media, it isn’t necessarily to find something negative about you but to get a snapshot of your personality. Culture has become even more of a factor when hiring, as employers realize the importance of a cohesive atmosphere where diverse people can come together to work toward a common goal. And, it helps if they respect and like each other as it makes for a more productive environment.
Not sure what is appropriate and what could pass for “normal” sharing? To follow are some suggestions on what NOT to post.
  • Revealing photos or sexual videos
  • Criminal behavior
  • Negative remarks about a former or current employer
  • Sharing confidential information about an employer (past or present)
  • Discriminatory remarks related to gender, religion, race, etc.
  • Photos or comments about drugs and drinking
Other telltale signs that it wouldn’t be a good fit:
  • If currently employed, you call in sick, and then they see images of you at Disney World.
  • Poor grammar on social media can indicate what they expect as far as your communication skills.
  • Too many posts. Why does that matter? If you have a history of constantly posting, then it suggests you would be spending a portion of your workday keeping up with social media versus managing your responsibilities.
Take some of the following steps to a more positive social media presence:
  • If they cannot find you, they’ll feel you’re hiding something as it’s rare that someone doesn’t exist on social media.
  • If there’s something inappropriate, delete that post. If it’s on someone else’s channel and it’s a real negative, politely ask the person who posted it if they can either “untag” you or remove it altogether.
  • Include content that aligns with the persona you are representing in your career.
  • Add your skills and history, so they match with your resume. This advice is primarily for LinkedIn as that’s a dedicated professional channel.

It’s OK to be “social,” but be mindful of what you’re putting out there. Many co-workers connect on social media, so have fun, but before posting, ask yourself what employers would think about what you’re about to share.

And remember, you shouldn’t ease up on ensuring your online presence is positive once you are successfully employed.