Beware: Social media blunders can sink career chances

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Illustration by Trevor Moore

Graduation is just around the corner, job fairs are sprouting like the pollen-spewing plants that stuff up my nose and resumes are being written to entice employers into a job offer.

But in the 21st century, we have advanced communication tools and employers know it. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are all great ways to connect with family, friends and classmates.

But those sites can also serve as pitfalls to finding and keeping a job. Career Builder conducted a study on employers, potential candidates’ social media profiles and the extension of job offers.

The top two reasons the research suggests that a job offer is not extended is because the “candidate posted provocative/inappropriate photos/info” and “there was info about candidate drinking or using drugs.”

Jobvite also conducted a survey about hiring and social media. They found that “83 percent of recruiters” say that references to illegal drugs “is a strong turnoff.” The next category, “sexual posts,” noted that “70 percent of recruiters” would count those against a candidate.

Not only can the content count against an applicant. Simple things like spelling and grammar are being used to sort through candidates.

While I need to get back on and update my profile, LinkedIn has become a major force in the business and professional world to recruit or find a job. Time noted “93 percent of recruiters are using LinkedIn to discover talent.”

Social media also provides positive outcomes for applicants. A professional image, good communication skills and a sense of the applicant’s personality actually attract employers.

What to do? People should get on a computer and check on what their social media presence looks like on all platforms. What’s public is what a potential employer will see. Manage settings and lists. Only some of my friends fall into the “close friends” category on my Facebook. Remember to check the viewable settings before posting.

Twitter is public. Period. Find posts that may be inappropriate and delete them. Quickly.

So even if that Friday night party was dope, think twice about posting the pics of smoking pot or beer pong on social media.

Joseph Rogers can be reached at [email protected] or @JosephLRogers1 on Twitter.