How to ruin your career with one click?

Social networksNowadays, it’s hard to find a person who is not involved in any social network. Social networks have millions of users but only a few seriously consider the risks that these sites could pose. Although the impact of social networking on your personal brand hasn’t been scientifically measured yet, clearly, it contributes to as many spectacular successes as failures in job searches and professional careers. The question is- can social networking sites support you or be an obstacle to a job search?

Haunting messages

Bear in mind that once you publish the message on Twitter or other social networks it will stick with you forever and can be viewed in the future. Take full responsibility for what you are posting as you will never get rid of the tail that will always drag behind you. There’s been loads of cases where employees got fired on the grounds of promoting negative image of the company or simply destroying their own personal brand through inappropriate comments or unprofessional statuses such as: “bored at work”, “lazing around at work”. In the article 30 ways to Lose a Job on Twitter you can find other outrageous messages like “I just failed my drug test”, “I think I’m getting used to being hangover at work”, “Sleeping at work”, “So bored at work and people insist on smoking weed in the bathroom”.

Maintain your positive personal image

In my post about personal branding I provided a few tips on how to create and then maintain your positive personal brand. Many people neglect their image. You can often hear about people being fired for having their personal blogs, in which they share their comments about co-workers or vividly describe work situations. Adding some disgraceful photos can also prove harmful in the recruitment process since, with the emergence of HR 2.0, recruiters search social networks to find out more about the candidates. And this digital image may have a huge impact on the decision of whether to invite or reject the applicant. Background research is now a routine procedure among HR people-candidates be aware!

Positive profile makes the decision easier

If you create a decent profile of a person who is enthusiastic about life, is involved in some after-work activities and has something interesting to say it can only increase the odds of getting invited to the interview. Your chances drop dramatically if you depict yourself nude, drunk, in obscene pose or rude, no matter if these are only isolated cases. After all, it’s you who selected the embarrassing pictures and added to the photo gallery. You create your brand. Are you sure you want to deter your future employees from hiring you?

Facebook-unofficial test for applicants

It applies especially to students, whose main activity is crazy binges and drinking sprees. They are not fully aware of how pictures of such events, may affect their future careers. The students who will later perform public jobs or medical students should be even more vigilant what they put on their networks, since there is high likelihood that they will be researched online by their future patients regularly. Don’t let the sordid episodes that you put on display ruin the immaculate image of a doctor, for example.

Take responsibility

It’s amazing how careless people can be in what they say about themselves, their bosses and workplaces. They are not aware of the impact it may have on their future careers and how it can prevent the prospective recruiters from hiring them after they conduct online research on the candidate. Whatever you post online will come back to you and haunt you at the most unexpected moment in your life.  All in all, don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t in person and don’t put anything online which you wouldn’t like your mother to see.

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6 comments

  1. Good advice. Especially since this is a post coming from the HR 🙂

    Do you think it is common for recruiters to check social websites for your information though ? What would you say is the % of recruiters / HR that scan for such data ?

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  2. To be honest I believe the amount of HR people who are really aware of social media is still rather poor. I would say <40%. Some years ago I worked as an HR manager in The Netherlands and I mostly met rather conservative colleagues. But you have to be aware that this is changing. Besides, it depends on the country. In the US the social profile is already a lot more important than in Europe.

    Anyhow, I fully agree that you need to be aware of your social profile. Whether you really need a social profile highly depends on the job you are applying for.

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  3. Its really sad how lazy people especially HR folk have become. Gaming networks and posting personal puff pieces will only insure that HR hires deceptive weasels.

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  4. I don't know about others, but prying on my personal life and making judgments on it without the context on which it happened is borderline offensive.

    We have come to an age where there is nothing personal anymore, so some people will try to project their image based on what others like to see. Life is too short to live like that.

    Of course, when you are a doctor or a politician (or anyone whose life may be important to others), what people know about you can go a long way.

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  5. I don't know about others, but prying on my personal life and making judgments on it without the context on which it happened is borderline offensive.

    We have come to an age where there is nothing personal anymore, so some people will try to project their image based on what others like to see. Life is too short to live like that.

    Of course, when you are a doctor or a politician (or anyone whose life may be important to others), what people know about you can go a long way.

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