Online Behavior and Your Career

Is your social media costing your job or will it land you one?

From a careless post or a reckless tweet, you could find yourself locked out of a potential job or possibly at risk of losing one.


According to a new national survey conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll, 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates before hiring. More than half, (57 percent) have found content that caused them not to hire a candidate.

For those that quickly respond by saying they’re not on social media, be aware, nearly half of the employers (47 percent) say that if they can’t find the applicant online, they are less likely to contact them.

Online Reputation

This isn’t about going off the grid or becoming a social hermit, it’s about using your keyboard responsibly and respectfully. It’s about recognizing you have a social liability with your keypad — and it now can impact your financial future.

Your posts and tweets are a reflection of your character and the person you are offline. It’s usually the first impression people—employers—will have of you.

Your online behavior is an extension of your online reputation.

Ponder What You Post

The internet is unforgiving, especially when it comes to your digital landscape. Employers who found content on a social networking sites that caused them not to hire a job candidate said these were the primary reasons:

  • 40 percent: Provocative or inappropriate photos, videos or information.
  • 36 percent: Information about them drinking or using drugs.
  • 31 percent: Discriminatory comments related to age, gender, religion, etc.
  • 30 percent: Linked to criminal behavior.
  • 27 percent: Lied about their qualifications.
  • 27 percent: Poor communication skills.
  • 25 percent: Bad-mouthed their previous company or fellow co-worker.
  • 22 percent: Unprofessional screen name.*
  • 20 percent: Shared confidential information from previous employers.
  • 12 percent: Posted too frequently.

*It’s time to retire all those silly email addresses and quirky handles — that may have been fun for high school or even college, but in the professional world they can be frowned upon.

A Tweet Can Get You Hired!

On the positive side, the survey also points to how your online reputation and social media can help you land a job:

  • 37 percent: Candidate’s background information supported their professional qualifications.
  • 34 percent: Candidate was creative.
  • 33 percent: Candidate’s site conveyed a professional image.
  • 31 percent: Candidate was well-rounded, showed a wide range of interests.
  • 28 percent: Candidates had great communication skills.
  • 26 percent: Candidate received awards and accolades.
  • 22 percent: Candidate had interacted with my company’s social media accounts.
Job Today, Gone Tomorrow

Just because you have a job doesn’t mean you have job security. Nearly half of employers (48 percent) use social networking sites to monitor current workers. One third (34 percent) of employers have found content online that caused them to reprimand or fire an employee.

Most companies today have social media policies in place, so take the time to become familiar with yours.

Policing Your Online Presence

You are your own hero. You never know when your boss is scouring your online persona, considering you for a promotion or sadly debating who’s going to be in the next round of lay-offs.

Have you boosted your digital resume lately? What have you done for your community? Are you a member of any church or civic groups? Maybe you volunteer at a nursing home or Humane Society. Or dreadfully – were you picked up for a DUI? Public records can end up online. Be diligent with keeping up with your online reputation, whether you are employed or not.

Your online behavior is never off-the-clock.

Get In Touch

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