Is your personal online presence hindering your career?
Have you ever considered that your social media presence could be damaging to your career? Most recruiters and companies are using social media sites to enhance their recruitment or online presence but there are downsides to this for candidates and employees if you are not thoughtful about what you make public.
In the UK alone there are 33 million Facebook users, approx. 10 million twitter users and over 5 million LinkedIn users. This means that the likely hood is that you and your employer or prospective employer will have mutual friends/contacts.
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of stories hitting the news showing how people’s personal online presence has got them in trouble at work and in some cases lost them their job.
In November 2012 Lindsey Stone, the Massachusetts woman who posted a photo of herself giving the middle finger in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, lost her job. Stone’s employer, Living Independently Forever, Inc. announced that both Stone and another co-worker who took the photo were no longer working at the company after thousands of people rallied for the pair to be removed from their jobs, after finding their photo’s disrespectful and offensive.
Cameron Reilly hit headline news in April 2011 for his detrimental rants on Facebook. According to the Daily Mail Reilly, a Palace guard was been banned from the Royal Wedding parade for his detrimental rants on Facebook about Kate Middleton after she apparently ‘snubbed’ him.
In November 2008 13 Virgin Airlines crew members were fired after publicly discussing aspects of their job on Facebook – they shared the number of times that certain airplane engines had been replaced and that the cabins were infested with cockroaches before badmouthing passengers.
Many employers now have social media content included in their employment contracts allowing instant dismissal if you are found to be posting any content that could be interpreted to be racist, offensive or could damage the company’s reputation.
Social media is only a hindrance when someone’s actions online are in conflict with the image they wish to present, such as a professional job seeker with endless photos of drunken parties. If the social media profile is in alignment with the image the person wishes to project, then it shouldn’t affect them professionally.
Social media can allow you to learn more about people and companies than could be gathered from conversations and can also help to find friends and former peers now working for an organisation that could employ them. Social media helps those who are responsible in their actions and image and only hurts those who are careless in their actions or whose real life is contradictory to what they wish to present in their work life.
One of the responsibilities of having a social networking profile is making sure that the information you present is legal, ethical, and moral. If your social media presence compromises the ethics or the image you wish to present, then you need to bear in mind that there could be undesired consequences.