How to Make Sure Your Facebook Profile Doesn’t Cost You A Job

February 14, 2018


Although the word “privacy” has not completely lost its meaning, there is very little of it left for us to enjoy in the digital era. With social media now our main channel of communication with friends and even strangers, new standards of self-presentation have emerged, making us willingly expose more and more of our so-called “private” life. In this post we look into the risks that putting thoughtless content in the public eye can pose to you as an employee, both now and in the future.

Let’s not dwell on the obvious blunders – like all those posts made during working hours that clearly indicate you are procrastinating or, worse still, skipping work for no reason. These on their own are unlikely to get you fired, but if your employer already harbours some dissatisfaction with your performance, such testimony can tilt the balance against you. Another all too obvious type of thoughtless online self-damage with hard consequences is posting complaints about your job, your customers or your boss.

And if you lose your job because of a confession like that, don’t think it’s because you’ve damaged your employer: the main reason in such cases is that you have clearly presented yourself as an unreliable person lacking a very basic ability to filter out what you’re communicating to the world. So, let the general rule be: never make any negative comments about your work.

Most rational individuals who are motivated to keep their job would never commit glaring blunders like the ones mentioned above. But what about posts that don’t seem to be work-related? If your employer has a social media policy, study it carefully and stick to it whenever you’re posting online. If they don’t have a policy, well, here are some basic guidelines on how to post and present yourself with care on social networks.

Refrain from posting material that presents you as irresponsible, even if you’re on holiday. Alcohol and substance abuse, vulgar and sexually explicit behaviour — anything that you wouldn’t like your boss to see you doing.

Another important tip: refrain from posting, sharing and liking offensive and discriminatory content. Think you’ve got yourself covered by making sure no snaps from the latest party emerge online? Think again. Basically, promoting sexist, racist, homophobic and otherwise offensive content creates much more risk for you than a drunken party pic ever could as they could trigger an emotional backlash that extends far beyond your immediate circle of followers. And do we even have to spell out that such posts would also compromise your employer’s reputation if they did not take action against you?

These are, in short, the basic “don’ts” of your personal social media strategy. And always keep in mind that when you’re looking for a new job, you have to be no less mindful of your online behavior. Indeed, you have to be even more so, as the chances are higher that your social media will be examined during any selection process. Social media today has become the main resource for building one’s personal image and the narrative underlying that image, and it is an extremely powerful recruiting tool for employers. So get the best out of it and don’t turn its power against you.


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