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Published on June 14th, 2018 | by Jones

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How social media affects your job application

As a student enjoying the campus life, it’s easy to not think about the repercussions of what you upload to your social media profiles. In the moment, it’s all about attention, maximum likes or views, how many people “laugh” at your status or re-share what you’ve shared.

Then, when you’re holding your degree, you start thinking about submitting your CV to different companies for an entry-level position. But you never hear back or make it past the first interview. Why is that? What is so unimpressive about your CV (other than possibly no experience) that is leading employers to throw out your application? The answer is that it’s nothing on your CV, but most likely something on your social media profiles.

We’re going to be discussing how social media affects your job application and what you can start doing about it right now. The earlier you start damage control, the deeper employers would have to dig before they find anything.

What are they looking for?

Not all employers are looking for anything specific when they stalk your social media profiles. But the reason why most companies do look at applicants’ social media profiles is to get a better idea of who the person is outside of an interview and “I need to impress these people” environment. It’s an indication as to whether this candidate will suit the company culture or not.  

However, there are the handful of employers who have a list of things they look out for before even inviting a candidate for an interview. These things usually include the use of profanity, use or support of drugs or alcohol, your general language use, political opinions, vanity and suggestive clothing or photographs. They even notice your activity on social media and have been known to be less inclined to hire someone who doesn’t have a strong social media presence. It may seem unfair but the reality is that you made the choice to post those images and opinions online for the world to see (unless your profile privacy is set to “friends only” and aren’t public).   

First impressions count  

Social media affects your job application because it serves as a first impression that potential employers can have of you. You may rock up to an interview dressed the part and saying all the right words, but all the interviewer is thinking of is how a few weeks ago you were playing a drinking game with your friends.

And this isn’t to say that you should hide or censor your social media in order to get a job. At the end of the day, you need to feel comfortable in a company as much as they would like you to gel with their culture. Just keep in mind that you are inviting scrutiny whenever you post online.

Judge of character

Social media also affects your job application based on how you choose to present yourself to the public domain and then enter an interview with a completely different demeanour. Social media is a judge of character and potential employers look to your profile to get an idea of who you really are.

They take note of your hobbies, the kind of people you hang around with, the pages you follow and the events you attend. All of these aspects from your social media profile are insights into your character. And it doesn’t even need to be intentional on your part. You may have liked a page years ago that has changed or you are no longer interested in but unaware that you still follow them.

If you want employers to see the true you, have a variety of your interests up on your profiles. The good things and the real things that you’re not ashamed of and are willing to justify if necessary.

Personal marketing channel

What you need to understand (and that will change the way you see and use social media) is that social media profiles are a personal marketing channel. One that you need to keep updated and a true reflection of who you are. If you’ve studied marketing management courses, you’ll know all about brand reputation and the influence of marketing management. Think of social media as a platform where you market your brand (your brand being who you are) because that’s what it is.  

If you’re looking for the most likes and whatever else, you might as well post positive and relatable things about your life. Don’t start proofing your posts a thousand times before publishing now just because you’re afraid it will affect your job application. It all comes down to how you fit with the company anyway. Chances are they will be reviewing your Instagram profile and that’s okay.

If you’re happy with the person you see on your social media, then either they will be too, or they aren’t the company you’re supposed to be working with.

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A keen writer, giving advice about work and life.



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