Keeping a Clean Online Presence

Let’s start by putting all of our cards out on the table: we ALL have had one of those nights that we would rather forget. And while we won’t go into details about the thousands of possibilities of what that could mean- what it boils down to is that in this day and age of Social Media, one of those nights can ruin your career.

Simply turn on the news for five minutes and it seems like every day that some politician or teacher or another sort of professional is losing their job, or if facing other ramifications, because they acted out of line and it was captured and shared instantly.

We all have to face the fact that that’s just the kind of society we have developed- for better or worse. Social Media has facilitated so many great things over the last 10 or so years but has also amplified what was previously considered a private life happening to everyone. The best part of it all is that it is often impossible to get rid of that momentary lapse in judgment you had. Once it hits the net- it usually stays there eternally in some capacity.

Job seekers and employers alike have had to adapt to this new world of Social Media interaction and obsession with instantly sharing our great and not so great moments. It is estimated that over 90% of employers will review a potential candidates’ online presence and Social Media profiles during the hiring and interview process, with the most popular platform of all being Facebook.

So why is your potential employer checking through your Social Media profiles before giving you a callback?

The short answer is to see the real you. Often times we can create the image of a person that we want to appear to be in the office or at an interview. When armed with years of what was once considered more “private” information, such as personal photos or rants, an employer can get to know the real you. They want to make sure your lifestyle meets their professional expectations, that you will mesh well with other employees and clients, or that you just aren’t out there doing irresponsible or even illegal things.

Just a simple glance at your social media profiles can provide answers to your potential employer about all of the above and so much more. And while the picture that is painted might not always be “accurate” or “fair”- you do have some ability to control the image of yourself before it is no longer in your hands.

Below are a few areas of your social media profiles that you may want to take a look at and adjust before submitting that next resume. We also offer some reasons “why” and “how” a little social media “tidying up” can be done:

Pictures and videos: the old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” can be adapted to the modern day to “a picture is worth not paying you thousands of dollars.” If your Social Media profiles are full of pictures of you drinking in bars, acting recklessly or engaging in other non-professional manners, you may want to consider changing them.

We are sure you spend plenty of time on the Internet seeing other friends and acquaintances Facebook pages…so imagine seeing these as that person’s potential boss! It is sadly not uncommon to see people doing drugs, flipping the bird, driving dangerously or engaging in other unsavory acts in online media that are public facing. If this happens to be your case- we suggest that you not only quit doing these things but to try and delete them ASAP…no matter how dear to your heart these moments can be.

Rants and “About Me”: venting online has not only become common amongst almost every person with Internet access, but it has even turned into a job for some people. And sure, while you may be screaming and cursing at your TV because candidate “X” just said “Y” during the latest presidential debate…blasting that same opinion online may not be in your best interest. What if your potential employer is a supporter of a candidate you choose to bad-mouth? What if they don’t want to bring someone in to their office where every other word out of their mouth is inappropriate? And while this is just a simple example, both of these are reasons for NOT hiring someone that have been used countless times before and will be into the future.

In relation to the above considerations made about language, you may want to make sure your “about me” or “information” section is cleaned up as well. It may not be in your best interest to have “Drinking All Day, Partying All Night” as a headline when your job may entail administering anesthesia or performing other major duties on a daily basis. If a potential employer sees that you could become a liability because of your documented behavior, they may not risk bringing you on in the first place.

We understand that some could say this recommendation is against their “freedom of speech” or discriminatory, but understand that your potential employer is also FREE to hire you or not and that your rent and bills may not be very FREE if you keep that behavior up too.

So what are some fixes to all of these potential social media problems one may face?

The first advice we can give is to, of course, not engage in these activities. If you are serious about getting a career, not just a job, it is time to start acting like the adult that you want to be treated like. And while the idea seems simple, we do understand that people slip up sometimes and that someone may be there to capture your bad night, even if you don’t want them to be.

In any case, try to use things like the “Privacy Settings” to your advantage when creating your online profiles. These will vary with each platform, but generally allow you to show or not show certain groups or followers your information or posts. Try to Google yourself and track down any negative content that might be out there about you. Do your best to remove the content you found that could be hurting your chances or landing a job. If these prevention methods do not work for you, maybe staying off of social media, no matter how hard it is, may be the best option until you get and land that job you are seeking.

If you have any questions or suggestions about keeping a clean online social media presence, make sure to leave a comment below…and as always, make sure to stay up to date with DentalGrind for our bi-weekly blogs aimed at helping YOU land your dream job.

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