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How Social Media Can Affect Your Job Search

Social Media is an amazing phenomenon. With a few clicks you can share your thoughts and opinions with all of your friends, family, and followers.  All it takes is an email, access to the internet, and suddenly you have been able to make a connection that eliminates the distance between us. Unfortunately if used unwisely that very connection that allows your presence to span continents could significantly hurt your ability to find a job.

Why Can Social Media Hurt Your Chances of Finding a Job?

Finding a job is about presenting your best face to the interviewer. You dress in your best, spend extra time grooming, and practice your responses to imaginary questions as if you are learning lines in a play. The goal is to convince the interviewer that you would soar higher than any of the other candidates—even if you are slightly skeptical how good you would be at the job. If you do not craft and control your social media presence, you could disrupt the careful cultivation of your professional image.

Facebook, Twitter, and websites memberships all leave a trail right back to you. Not all employees do private cyber investigations, but some employees will do investigations of you before or after the interview. It is a final test to see if you meet up to their exacting standards. And unlike official background checks, this search is legal.

Do You Have a Social Media Problem?

You could have a social media problem and not even know it. Don’t let yourself be sideswiped by your social media presence. Before applying for jobs, you should always check that your social media is potential boss ready. Here are some steps to identifying a social media problem.

  • Search for your name in Google search. This is especially important if you have a unique first or last name. Make sure that your name does not crop up in regards to any embarrassing or controversial sites. Even site memberships that promise complete digression might not follow through.
  • Comb your Facebook and Twitter accounts for any inappropriate comments, posts, or pictures that you or your friends have posted.
  • Check to make sure that you are not following any controversial figures on Twitter.
  • Make sure that any blogs in your name will not embarrass you.

What Can You Do to Clean Up A Social Media Problem?

Let’s say hypothetically you’ve done everything right. You chose a career that was predicted to have massive growth by 2020, went to solid college, graduated with a decent GPA with an information technology degree. You even feel confident about your upcoming job interview, but you have just recently discovered that you have a major social media problem. What do you do now? You can practically see your job opportunity slipping away.

Here are some steps to clean up your social media presence:

  • Set your Facebook account to limit access to your timeline unless you are friends with them.
  • Remove controversial blogs or Facebook posts, tweets, and blog messages. If any inappropriate or unflattering pictures of you can be found on Facebook, request that they be removed.
  • Un-follow or un-friend controversial individuals or individuals who continually leave inappropriate comments. This may seem harsh, but the company you keep reflects on you. If a friend or relative constantly fills your page with inappropriate comments, the boss might believe that you are also that type of person. Don’t worry you can re-friend them after you have the job.
  • Request that your membership to any controversial sites that you found on Google be removed.
  • At this point I would recommend creating a pen-name for your social media presence. You can tell your family and friends about the change. Feel free to use your own pictures. Just make sure you tag the pictures with your pen-name.

Written By

Kate Gredley is an elementary teacher with a background in marketing. She thrives on writing and and helping American youth grow into vibrant careers.



  1. Shalin

    June 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Totally true, having a messy Facebook account totally can turn down chance of you getting a job. Even when we hired some designers we ignored too social people on Facebook.

  2. Naser

    June 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Hi Kate,

    Didn’t expect that Social Media will also have such an impact on the job. I would better deactivate all my SNS accounts before going for the interview 😀

  3. Stevens Henager

    June 11, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    The pen name idea is a really good one. Potential employers can’t reconsider for the job if they can’t find your facebook.

  4. Nicholas Haywood

    June 12, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    I’m happy to help. Good luck in any future job interviews.

  5. Thomas Greig

    June 19, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    As long as there is nothing that you would not want your mother to see on your Social Profiles, I really cannot see how there is a problem. Companies these days are more and more using social profiles such as linkedin, facebook and twitter.

  6. katherine Gredley

    June 20, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    I can understand where you are coming from. Yes, not all potential employers will cyber stalk you. Some might even be understanding. They\’ll know that our cyber presence doesn\’t always give a solid representation of our values and beliefs. Afterall many people post somewhat sketchy comments or posts because they know their friends will not construe the comment in the wrong way. The problem is that we are not often aware if the potential employee will be so understanding. While you might land a job even if you do not take measures to clean up your social media content, others may end up facing a potential employee that takes media presences very seriously. In those situations a social media clean up could only help.

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