We’ve all done it – posted something to one of our social media pages and in the moment thought “I’m a literary genius, my opinion is spot-on!” and then weeks later looked back at it and cringed harder than watching someone on a bike trip over a rock and faceplant into the dirt.
As a millennial, I’ve lost count of how many cringey posts I’ve put into the digital universe. And I grew up in the digital age so my ignorance is my own fault.
But because of the clickbait climate we live in, it’s absolutely imperative to have clean social media pages if you’re looking for a job. It’s unavoidable. And because of the industry we’re in, we’re no strangers to candidates not getting hired due to something an employer finds on their social media pages they find unsavory.
Here’s a few tips we’ve picked up along the way to help ease the cyber struggles:
Clean Up Your Web Footprint
It’s as simple as wiping your feet when you walk into your house so you don’t track your dirty footprints everywhere. The same concept applies to the websites you visit. Not that your potential employer is going to get to a private investigator-level of digging through your internet history, but it’s important to keep in mind what sites you visit because of these nasty little things called “cookies.”
Cookies are basically little breadcrumbs that follow you around the internet wherever you go, sending data back to a specific website that can be accessed by the website’s web server. (I have too many conspiracies about this and “big brother”, but I’ll save that for another blog.)
Just be aware of the websites you’re visiting – our advice is to avoid going to any sites that you wouldn’t want an employer to know you’re browsing on.
Balance What You Broadcast
It’s important to remember that the variety of social media platforms used today were created for different reasons. I’ve noticed, however, that the fine lines that separate these platforms have gotten a bit muddy since their creation.
For example, Facebook should primarily be used for family and friends – by all means, post your puppy photos and best roasted chicken recipes all day. I gobble that stuff up. Instagram should be used for your selfies, silly video clips, gifs, memes, etc. (Facebook and Instagram share a lot of these fine lines.) And again, blast my Instagram page with ridiculous memes and gifs. That’s basically what the internet was created for anyway, right?
Twitter and LinkedIn were *primarily* created for professionals. Twitter has since gone off its’ wagon and turned into a meme generating machine, but there are a lot of companies, big and small, that still use it for professional development. No need to post pictures of your kids’ soccer practice to Twitter – save that for the ‘Insta or your Facebook.
LinkedIn was created for professionals to have a kid and recipe-free way to connect with each other. Job seekers also turn to LinkedIn for professional development and connections in hopes of landing the perfect position.
The point here is to know what to post where. Ultimately, it’s your decision based on who your followers are and which platform they follow you on. Our advice is simply to keep the selfies and recipes to more casual platforms, and to keep your professional self active and visible on LinkedIn.
Know the Risks
Everything on the internet lasts forever, even if you delete it.
LET ME REPEAT THAT FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK.
Nothing. Is. Deleted. Forever.
It is SO important to remember the risks in posting something you may think is innocent. And I get it, in the moment this stuff will be hard to remember when you have an absolutely FIRE post you want to put into the world. I refer you to the first sentence of this blog.
When you’re looking for a job, we recommend staying away from politically-charged or religiously-charged posts. While it’s discriminatory on the employer’s part to not hire someone based on these views, our advice is to just keep that to a minimum until you’re firmly grounded in your new role.
Even if you delete it, you never know who is watching your pages and may have screenshots of something cringe-worthy that you might not want an employer to see.
Don’t let this discourage you from having a personality online! Employers want to see that too – have fun and post job-appropriate content to your platforms, keeping in mind that an employer might stumble across your pages their search for the ideal candidate.