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Social Media Is Killing Your Career Prospects: Here’s Why

Social media, is a powerful 21st century tool, a voice for the voiceless, a channel to connect with others around the world, and a platform for over half the population, with 4.62 billion social media users as of January 2022[1]. I know I am a part of those 4.62 billion, are you? And if you are, then is your social media potentially harming your prospects of getting that job you want?

Hindering or helping?

With the various social media platforms present today, and new ones cropping up all the time, it’s so easy to get swathed into this virtual world, creating Tiktoks, trying to get the highest likes, and maintaining this alter ego in our social media presence. But this venture into a virtual world can do more harm than good if used incorrectly. A recent study by the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 43% of employers screen job candidates through social networks and search engines[2]. With businesses joining the social media trend, albeit later than individuals, it’s crucial to make sure your social media isn’t getting in the way, but rather helping you. Whilst you eagerly search the business, stalk all its social media presence, the same can be done to you, and the image you present online is vital.

Be private, not invisible

You may have heard the advice: put all your accounts on private if you want to get a good job. I know I heard it whilst growing up. But in this day and age with social media careers becoming a whole new industry, and using social media as a way to stay connected, this is unrealistic. It’s also a major red flag if you can’t be found anywhere, especially if you’re applying for a role that involves social media. So my advice would be to be selective with what you share. Remember it is YOUR social media, and you get to decide what to share. Whilst it’s okay to keep your Twitter and Instagram private, have a professional handle, use a profile picture that is clear and displays you at your best, not that time you got drunk in Mosh. There’s no hard and fast rule here, but rather drawing a line with what to share and how much, and making sure that you don’t spill every single detail on your social media. You get to decide what that is, using your common sense, a skill employers normally look for…

Use social media to help you

Rather than swearing off social media in the pursuit of a job, use it to your advantage! Be active on Twitter, following the businesses or sector you want to go into, connecting with other students and professionals. Post your achievements on LinkedIn, and grow your network, so when that employer searches for you, they find a professional individual. Social media can open up doors for you anywhere and everywhere, you just need to utilise it to benefit you.

So, should we be using social media in our private lives or professional ones?

The answer to this really depends on what you’re willing to share, but my advice would be to use it for both! Everything has a place, and some things should be kept private where you can express yourself, whilst others should be kept public to allow yourself to be noticed so you can reach out to employers. Draw the line between the two, and when posting ask yourself: Is this the platform to post this? If an employer saw this, would I be presented in a bad light? Do I REALLY want people to know this?

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