Be conscious of your social media image

It’s a simple mistake to make and one to which many have fallen victim. You create a winning CV that accurately matches your skills and talents to a particular job advertisement. You are called for interview.

You present at interview as a well-groomed individual, confident and articulate, and you perform well. You answer every question by showing how you can meet the employer’s needs. Your references will validate your excellent career history and attitude to work. You thank your interviewers before you leave and generally have that good feeling that “things went well”.

Your interviewers discuss and analyse your performance and place you in a small group of candidates who appear to be a perfect fit. Then it all goes wrong.

They decide to delve a little bit further into your private life (which they are perfectly entitled to do ) and look at your social media profile. It’s not good news. Facebook lets you down by telling the world that a lot of your pastime is spent drunk out of your mind.

Your lack of respect for members of the opposite sex is clear to see based on the type of posts you “like” and “share”. Apparently you seem to like to impress your online connections by displaying your racist or homophobic views. And worse again, you seem to be willing to “share” the equally obnoxious opinions of others.

Twitter and Instagram tell a similar story. Anyone with the most basic of IT skills can easily check social media platforms to look for a particular individual. You won’t be hard to spot given that they know what you look like and where you live. It’s a simple piece of research from there on.

At this point, you have now blown your chances out of the water. Have you been hard done by? Maybe. Maybe not. But, either way, you haven’t got the job.

Here are some analogies you might like to consider. If you were renting a room in your house to a complete stranger, would you check them out first?

If you were looking to appoint a stranger to babysit your children, would you check them out first? I don’t think we would do any of the above.

Why then would we doubt that an employer is going to check us out prior to investing time and money is us as a future employee?

We live and work in a digital era. It’s sometimes easy to forget that what we do online will stay online forever. Think about your digital footprint.

Does it represent you in a poor light? Would it give an employer a reason to worry about taking you into their organisation? Does it show a side to your character and personality that you would prefer to remain secret? If any of the above relates to you, then you must change what you can now.

Delete what you can, deactivate what you can, and change your online behaviour for the better. Think of your online profile as an open book that anyone can read. Not all employers will do this level of research into your background but more and more of them are realising the benefits to be gained from a brief analysis of your social media activity.

Shooting yourself in the foot can be a painful experience. Let’s start thinking about avoiding the pain.

Sli Nua Careers (www.SliNuaCareers.com ) have offices in Athlone (090 ) 6403003, Galway, Mayo (Crossmolina and Ballinrobe ), Dublin, and Limerick. Their services include CV preparation, interview training, job-searching strategies, and career direction. For more details, visit www.slinuacareers.com/athlone

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