This is a guest blog post by Christopher Wallace, VP of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing.
No matter what type of job you’re seeking (and how sharp you dress for your interview), nobody wants to hire someone who moonlights as a slovenly drunk. Even if you’re terrifically witty after a couple of pints, the college era pictures of you with a beer funnel in hand are not going to help you get the job.
Although pictures of a party lifestyle are the most obvious culprit when it comes to being ‘busted’ during a Facebook background check, there are plenty of other red flags to watch out for, as well. From LinkedIn to Twitter to Pinterest, our social media ‘selves’ often double as a first impression.
Here’s how to make sure you come out of the gates in front of the pack:
- Adjust Privacy Settings. Here’s the biggest catch: If you do like to really let loose on the weekends, the photographic evidence your pals ‘tag’ you in could get you into trouble. But, if you allow your Facebook profile to be a free-for-all, reasoning that you’ll just keep privacy settings high and only visible to close friends, you actually do yourself a disservice. Your prospective new boss may look at a competitor’s page and decide that they’re a good fit, with no basis to judge or compare you by. And what do you do when the boss sends you a friend request? Go ahead and clean up your profile now and make it relatively open for them to peruse.
- Keep it Positive. Negative Nancy rarely gets the job. Always show off your happy side online, and privately go to friends and family with your troubles.
- Political Opinions. It ought to be a no-brainer, but during election seasons it’s easy to get fired up. Don’t cost yourself a new job just because you really can’t stand the candidate your new boss might be planning to vote for!
- Messy Breakups. Did you and your ex leave a trail of heartache on Twitter and Facebook during your breakup? Delete all of the evidence now. Your ability to manage your personal life reflects on your perceived stability at work.
- Accomplishments. Did you run your first 10K last month? Go ahead and put it out there! The virtual pats-on-the-back will show when someone checks you out online, and demonstrate that you’re motivated and prone to success.
- Questionable Likes. You may have enjoyed that smutty story you read online and want to recommend it to friends, but if you post it to Facebook, you might raise some eyebrows with higher-ups. If you’re into some weird or controversial stuff, share it with personal friends on a more personal network like Path.com instead of Facebook.
- Keep LinkedIn Up to Date. For many people, LinkedIn still carries the stigma of being that ‘other’ social networking site that’s just not as much fun as Facebook. Just remember, LinkedIn is there to get you work. It’s more important to keep your LinkedIn profile looking sharp than posting your dinner plans to Pinterest.
Remember, first impressions matter a lot! These days, it’s fairly common to give someone a good once-over online before meeting face-to-face. Make sure that the online presence you convey is exactly the same ‘you’ that you’ll be introducing at your job interview.
What other ways can you improve your social media presence?
Christopher Wallace is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Amsterdam Printing, one of the nation’s largest providers of promotional products for businesses large and small. Amsterdam specializes in custom pens and other promotional items such as calendars, laptop bags and T-shirts. Christopher regularly contributes to Promo & Marketing Wall blog.