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What Does Your Social Media Footprint Say About You?
What does your social media footprint say about you? At one of our recent Career Conferences, a JMO and Cameron-Brooks candidate was ruled out in an interview based on content from their social media. A Cameron-Brooks alumnus and recruiter was reviewing their interview schedule and, like many employers, part of the review included looking through a prospective hire’s social profiles. They came across a post from 2014 which included an aggressive political stance laced with some profanity. The recruiter, being an alumnus, was kind enough to inform Cameron-Brooks so we could alert the candidate to take the post down from their account and not have it impact them any further, but the damage was done (at least for that particular opportunity).
While the post was from several years ago and hardly representative of the officer today, it was still out there for all to see. And, unfortunately, the recruiter didn’t have to dig deeply to find it. The point is, social media today is a way employers pre-screen prospective employees and owning an unprofessional social media footprint or account can create a negative first impression. In some cases, it could be impossible to recover from (for the record, the candidate in question had a successful Career Conference, but it did hurt them with that particular interview). According to a study conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Career Builder, 51% of employers who researched job candidates on social media found content that caused them not to hire them or even interview the candidate. Over 90% of those companies polled use social media as a screening tool for prospective employees. This incident reminded me that it is each individual’s responsibility to know what impression/image their online/digital profile projects. This is your personal brand. It’s incredibly important to maintain professionalism with your LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter accounts, Facebook profiles, email addresses, etc.
I am not cautioning you away from social media tools, nor am I saying that you need to have robust social media profiles. I am recommending to keep them clean and professional, just like you would communicate on a resume, application and in an interview. So here are some tips:
1. Do an internet search of your name.
2. Look at your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. profiles from another person’s perspective. Remember, what others post on your Wall or Discussion board, others can see.
3. Call other numbers with Caller ID to see how you register. (For the record, I have personally seen some interesting Caller IDs pop up on my phone at Cameron-Brooks).
4. Maintain a professional email and VTC (Zoom, Skype, etc) addresses. I recommend FirstName.LastName and you can add in a middle initial, middle name or a number to differentiate it. Just do not use your birth year.
It doesn’t make any sense to worry about what you wear or how you look for an interview or how great your resume is if your social media footprint tells a completely different story.