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In today’s job market, an application goes far beyond a resume and cover letter. Applying for a job now encompasses everything that you are as a candidate, and that includes your online profile. Within the last few years, social media has gained a greater influence on the fate of a job applicant’s future with a particular company. According to Forbes, a survey found that 37 percent of employers use social media to screen potential candidates. With this knowledge, it is important to adjust social media usage accordingly. Remember that what you post today, could impact your job search tomorrow.

When reviewing your online profile, be wary of who could be viewing your content. Deleting obscene tweets or inappropriate Instagram photos may be a good first step. Employers often look for content that would not show you in a good light, and thus not make you a good candidate for their position. A piece from CNN advises people to avoid celebrating any career accomplishments on social media until talking it over with their employer. People have lost jobs before they have even started because of postings on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. These types of incidents can provide revealing information to an employer, and many would like to avoid drama with their employees, either on or offline.

This article from Time details a number of keywords or phrases that were viewed as negative and could often lead an employer to think twice about a candidate. Discussing or posting about topics such as sexual acts, profanity, and alcohol were often big turn-offs. Tweets or posts talking about illegal drugs topped the list as the biggest turn off. This may seem like common sense, but more and more people are falling prey to these social media blunders, and it hurts them. A clean, professional online profile is more than avoiding taboo or inappropriate topics, it also encompasses the proper spelling and grammar. This shows an air of professionalism both in and out of the office.

There are a number of ways to boost your social media presence and show an employer that your personality goes far beyond a one page application or resume. Positive attributes such as professional experience, examples of previous work, mutual connections, and charitable donations proved to be impressive to employers. These traits often leave potential employers feeling positive and hopeful about a candidate. A good image on social media goes beyond removing negative content, but also promotes positive and advantageous content.

While many young people may not think twice about what they post on social media, it is important to remember that what you say or post could follow you into the future. For those in high school, a college or university admission board may be inclined to browse your social media accounts to get a better idea of your personality. For those in college, these same rules apply when inquiring about internships or summer jobs. While the “real world” may seem far off and of little concern now, it is important to start your professional life on the right foot and always present yourself in a positive light.


Joleen T
FFL Contributor
Joleen is a Contributor at FFL. She enjoys reading, going to Chipotle, and drinking copious amounts of coffee. You can find her at the library, or studying for the LSAT. Her goal is to become a lawyer, and eventually run for public office. Her role models are Nikki Haley and Sandra Day O’Connor.

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