By Reese Thomas
At one time or another, you’ve scrolled down your Facebook timeline, and seen a post from a friend or family member that made you think to yourself, “whoa, that was way too much information.” They may have been expressing their frustration about a failed relationship or some family drama. It could have been that they were venting about a disagreement with a co-worker or their supervisor. Maybe it was even worse, like an overly sexual photo or status update that should have never made it onto the internet. Those are just a few of the common mistakes that people make when using social media websites in the most inappropriate forms. As innocent as it may seem, these types of mistakes have the potential to be severely damaging to ones career in a number of ways.
Let’s say that you are applying for a job with a new company. Your resume is in tip-top shape, all of your references check out, and your skills and experience exceed all of the job qualifications. But did you know that your social media accounts represent an easily accessible online profile managed by YOU? Every post, comment, or link shared to your page can be viewed by potential employers as a way to determine your ethical responsibility and moral standards. Social media websites are used by everyone-everywhere in more ways than you may have realized. Facebook has over 1.23 billion active monthly users and employers take advantage of this statistic when searching for suitable talent. All they have to do is type your name into Google’s search box, and guess what pops up on the first result page – your Facebook and Twitter profile, and any other social media accounts that you use under your alias. So consider this: are you posting anything that could ruin your chances of getting that job? Are you allowing anyone else to post to your page things that would be considered inappropriate or unethical? It could be a status update, a photo, a link, etc. Taking a stronger consideration for these things could be a deciding factor in a company wanting you to work for them or trashing your application.
Something else to consider is your current employer. A number of major companies have adopted social media compliance policies in an effort to protect them from being associated with unethical behavior or misconducts that their employees display online. Typically these policies state that employees are to refrain from discussing company matters publicly or disparaging managers, co-workers or the company itself. Businesses are attempting to discourage digital behaviors that reflect them in a negative light. Violations can result in separation from employment or other disciplinary actions. Employers that have adopted these types of policies include a number of major retailers; Target, Walmart, and Limited Brands to name a few. Ask yourself this: if my boss were to check out my Facebook, Twitter or Instagram profile, would there exist any viable reason to terminate my employment? Am I an ideal representation of the company I work for?
These particulars are highly necessary to consider if you’re trying to advance in your career or open up doors for new job opportunities. What do you want your online profile to say about you? Consider this question anytime you are using social media for any reason. Nothing on the internet is private; everything you put online is available to anyone who is interested in getting to know you outside of an interview.