Facebook started as a way for college students to connect and keep up with one another, but the social media site quickly became much more than a university-only playground. Now, adults, teens and even the elderly set use the site to stay in touch with friends and loved ones. With open access to all, though, your profile has the potential to fall into the hands of a potential employer.
You may wonder why an employer would look you up on Facebook when there are business-oriented social media sites out there, such as LinkedIn. Recruiters and potential bosses find that Facebook provides them with information that they just might consider when deciding whether or not to hire you. Below are three of the main things that they seek out.
There’s nothing wrong with having a good time every once in a while, but you might run into trouble if you post about your late-night shenanigans on your Facebook page. They’re not worried about the occasional glass of red wine or puff on an e-cigarette, either. Employers have admitted to leafing through potential employees’ photo albums on Facebook, scouting out images that depict the use of drugs or copious amounts of alcohol.
While the latter isn’t illegal for adults of a certain age, it may make you seem irresponsible or unable to handle professional social events — such as company parties or business dinners — if you make it a habit of drinking too much. To avoid losing your shot at a job, take down images that might make you look less responsible than you really are. Furthermore, avoid making any regrettable status updates if you happen to feel buzzed. It may not seem obvious to you, but it’s often simple to spot a post written while its page owner was under the influence of something.
To that end, potential employers are also going to sift through the status updates that you have posted to see if you make it a habit of denouncing your bosses or places of employment. Sure, your right to share your feelings is protected by the Constitution; however, the words you share on social media have a greater reach than what you whisper to a colleague or friend in frustration. There’s a good chance that what you post will come back to your boss in the future, and he or she will be less than pleased.
Posts that have criticized a former boss or employer also show that you might not be able to work well with others or manage your emotions in the workplace. At the end of the day, employers aren’t looking for a loose cannon when they’re hiring. They want a team player who knows when to take a stand and when to let things slide.
We’re not talking about elementary education when we reference grammar; we’re talking about the written word. Your Facebook posts carry even more weight when you consider that potential bosses might scan them to see how well you can communicate and write.
Sure, you might abbreviate some things and neglect to capitalize words in the lax social media atmosphere, but beware if your posts are rife with spelling errors and punctuation mistakes. It’s a complete turn-off for future employers, especially those who rely on their staff for professional written communications. It reflects poorly on you even if you’re not looking for a writing job, though, as it shows that your spoken grammar might also be poor. At the end of the day, recruiters want to choose the candidate who will represent their company best, and someone who can communicate professionally will rise to the top.
Perhaps it seems routine to upload raucous weekend photos or use the status update box to share your feelings with all of your social media friends and family members. If you’re searching for a job, though, use caution: Everything you say and do could be seen by a potential boss and, therefore, could make or break your application.
A more professional social media profile is easy to obtain if you follow these guidelines and use common sense the next time you go to share something with your network, especially something that might be questionable — when in doubt, don’t send it out.
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