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Social Media and Job Seekers

Dear Smarty Pants, Braggarts and Potty-Mouths… A word to the wise: you never know who is listening.

I am often taken aback by the things I see people posting on social media. I understand the need to vent or an attempt to be funny, but what you put out there in the public domain could be costing you your career. In a recent survey, 95% of employers said they use social media to screen potential employees. Yes, 95%! Yikes. From inappropriate photos and comments about previous employers to proof an applicant was less than truthful about qualifications… employers are getting an eye full!

Why employers rejected candidates

Are you rethinking that Tweet you sent in haste or those pictures you posted from last year’s Christmas party? Don’t panic yet. Here are a few things to consider about keeping the personality in your social media life without tanking career opportunities.

Privacy Settings

On social platforms like Facebook, check your privacy settings often. You need to know WHO you are sharing your ‘private’ thoughts with. On platforms like Twitter, the idea is that you are sharing your thoughts with the masses. It’s not just your followers seeing what you write; everyone can see them in a search.  

Tone Doesn’t Translate

Sarcasm and humor don’t always come through in the written form. Sure, your friends probably know when something is simply a joke. How would a stranger take it? Double check posts to ensure an employer would not find it offensive.

Express Yourself…Tactfully

You can see in the chart above, 11% of the companies surveyed rejected applicants due to poor communication skills demonstrated on social media. On platforms where space is at a premium, it is acceptable to shorten words. However, in most cases use proper grammar and correct spelling when possible. Show off those skills you spent years perfecting in English class! Also, keep foul language in check. Even if you use an explicative to describe how awesome a job interview was, an employer probably won’t view it in a good light.

Know How Companies Use Social

Not only do they actively seek out information about prospective employees, many companies and firms track their brands and related topics on social media. They want to know what is being said about them in the social space. That means a company or firm doesn’t have to be directly connected to you to see what you are saying. So think about the language you use when you post something containing key words like “accounting,” “CPA” and “CPA Exam.” Did you know social media posts often come up in search engine results? Google yourself and see what you find. This is the first thing an employer will see when they search for you. 

The Good News

Social media gives you an opportunity to show off your personal brand like no other. Showcase your wit, intellect and thought leadership. You want employers to be dazzled. Don’t tarnish your personal brand; this is your time to shine!

Do you have any tips for job seekers on how to boost his or her personal brand through social media? Please share them in the comments section.

, Strategist - Social Media and Member Engagement, American Institute of CPAs. Stacie leads and guides the AICPA’s social media strategy with oversight of the Institute’s social networking properties; serves as key contact for all social media initiatives; manages main AICPA LinkedIn groups and Facebook page; and leads staff and member education and training on social media.


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