Everyone is on social media these days.

It’s a great way to keep in contact with friends or to do an occasional bit of social espionage.

It’s okay, we all do it.

The problem is, we aren’t the only ones spying.

From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Tumblr, more and more employers are using social media to decide between candidates. Data shows 93% of hiring managers review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. Your risqué picture or inappropriate comment could be the biggest thing between you and that dream job.

Here are some tips to make sure that you get all of the benefits and none of the burn when it comes to your social media platforms!

The Light Side of Social Media:

The good news is that managers aren’t just lurking around on your social profiles to dig up the scandalous; they’re also looking for information that could give you a boost in the candidate pool. Profiles on professional social media and information from other places on the net can be the perfect platform to show off. About one-third of employers used content found on LinkedIn or in Google searches to help them hire employees.

How can you leverage the light side?

Keep an academic or professional blog. Your articles will come up in a Google search and show prospective employees where your interests lie. Create a killer LinkedIn Profile. Make sure to include a picture and fully fill out the summary section using information from your resume. Your profile will be available to employers and other professionals; this is a perfect palace to show off your accomplishments. Join professional organizations and engage in your community online and in real life. Your involvement on committees and projects will probably get some web attention and show up in a Google search as well.

Your online presence can project a professional image, and show off a personality that is a perfect fit for your future employer.

 

The Dark Side of Social Media:

Sometimes Private is Not so Private.

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We took pictures from NAU’s Snapchat page. We had one right here. It was so explicit that we were forced to censor it so that we didn’t violate NAU’s policies! That pictrue you took naked in the bathroom, or smoking a bong in your dorm room is easily accessible by everyone. We still have it. We just can’t post it

 

Use privacy settings to make your social profiles as private as possible. The less an employer sees, the less you have to worry about! 55% of hiring managers claim that they reconsidered a candidate based on what they found on the internet. Google searches will uncover pictures you’re tagged in on public sites, comments you make on public sites, screenshots of your snapchat if posted with your name on any public sites, and comments that others post on your account, if it is not private.  If you send a Facebook message to someone who is not your friend, those messages will also come up in a Google search. If you are tagged in a picture along with others, everyone who is friends with everyone else who is tagged will also see you, whether your profile is public or not. Remember employers will judge you based on the company you keep, and your privacy is always one screen shot away from not so private.

 

Remember that naked snapchat you sent to NAU’s university wide account? Well, one of the thousands of people who viewed it took a screenshot. They can post it wherever they want, and if they attach your name to it, it will come up in a Google search. Even if it remains anonymous, the farther it spreads the more likely it will eventually bump into someone you know and become associated with your name. Now it’s searchable.

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Seen these girls recently? That mess started with a dash of racism, disrespect, and poor taste, followed by a snap chat, a screen shot, and national notoriety.

 

Posting a glazed eyes, sloppy-drunk picture at 2AM may seem like a good idea through your beer-goggles, but folks have gotten fired for less. Even that innocent picture of you that screams, “I’m a good person!” will only look great until paired with a racist or disrespectful comment. Engaging in illegal behavior? If someone not-so-amused screen shots that and sends it viral, you might as well have been smoking a bong in the police department parking lot. Now you have a virtual problem compounded by real world charges.
Now, we’re not saying to constantly wear baggy turtlenecks, only speak when spoken to, and stay away from alcohol for your entire life. But, if your grandmother wouldn’t want to see it, neither does an employer. Not Grandma safe? Don’t post that

Be sure to check your security features on different media outlets. For example, if you want to un-tag yourself from a photo, just click on the photo, click on the tag option, and the “I don’t

want to be tagged in this photo.” Another awesome thing that Facebook offers is the ability to approve your tags before they can be viewed on your profile! That way you avoid an embarrassing situation from a picture you didn’t even take.
Social media is such a large part of our everyday lives that we may not even realize that it goes

surprised

From Google image search. Would Grandma like this? We think not.

 

deeper than having fun connecting with friends and posting things we find humorous. That one picture or one post can be the swing factor in a hiring committee’s decision. So next time you go to post something remember: so long as your picture exists anywhere, even on your snapchat story, it can exist everywhere.

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