A friend told me over coffee years ago that he had an interview scheduled for a highly sought-after internship. He was a great candidate. Yet, a few weeks later he told me that he didn’t get the spot. The employer — a news organization — was concerned about some of his past social media activity.
While news organizations may be a bit more sensitive about their employee’s public statements than other companies, there’s no denying that the trail you leave on the internet can affect the odds of you landing a job. Fortunately, you can still have a social media presence while not harming those odds.
First, it’s important to say that you should assume recruiters and/or hiring managers are looking at your social media accounts. No laws exist that forbid companies from looking at your public accounts as part of the hiring process.
Concern about recruiters moonlighting as internet sleuths may lead you to lock down your social media accounts — or delete them altogether. But Kerri Twigg, founder of Career Stories Consulting, said that could be risky in today’s digital world.
“For companies that emphasize social media, I think that can hurt you now.”
Additionally, she told me that properly curating your social media presence can help showcase you and your talents to potential employers.
Do some house cleaning
The first step in using social media to your advantage during a job search is archiving or hiding any embarrassing or professionally questionable content. Older posts may be especially ripe for archiving or deletion since they may not represent your current self, Twigg told me.