In the digital age, your online persona can have a significant impact on your professional life. Just as you wouldn’t walk into a job interview without brushing your hair or wearing suitable clothes, you shouldn’t neglect your social media presence. From Facebook and Twitter to Instagram and beyond, your online activity leaves a digital footprint that potential employers often explore.
The Lasting Impact of Social Media History
Remember that tweet you posted when you were 15? You might not, but it’s likely still out there, and it could be influencing potential employers’ perceptions of you. As an Insolvency and Accountancy Practice recruiter, I’ve seen first-hand how employers often conduct social media background checks on candidates. Sadly, I’ve experienced situations where at least two candidates (that I know of) were not taken forward to interview due to the results of these checks, highlighting the influence your social media history can have on your career.
Your Past Posts May Not Reflect Your Current Self
People evolve, and what you posted years ago may not reflect who you are today. However, potential employers might not see it that way. High-profile figures, including sports stars and celebrities, have faced public backlash after old tweets resurfaced, illustrating the long-term effects of careless social media use.
I confess I’ve even had moments of cringing when I’ve looked back at my own social media posts from 18 years ago. It’s a stark reminder that our online history can stick around much longer than we’d like.
How to Conduct a Social Media Review
To protect your professional reputation, it’s crucial to conduct regular social media reviews. Here’s how:
Scroll back through your posts: This might be time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Look for any content that could be perceived as offensive, insensitive, or unprofessional.
Consider the context: Remember, the context of your posts might have changed over time. Something you posted years ago might now be considered inappropriate.
Delete or archive old posts: If you come across any concerning content, consider deleting or archiving it. Remember, just because it’s in the past doesn’t mean it won’t affect your future.
Adjust your privacy settings: Ensure that your personal posts are only visible to your friends or trusted connections. Be aware that public posts are accessible to anyone, including potential employers.
Think before you post: As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t say it in a job interview, it’s best not to post it online.
In conclusion, your social media history can significantly impact your career. So, just as you would review your CV before a job application, consider reviewing your online presence. After all, you want to put your best digital foot forward.
My views are based on my 15 years+ of recruiting for Accountancy Practice and Insolvency professionals.
For advice about your career options, speak to Scott Lowes at Levitate Recruitment, specialists in placing practice-trained accountants and insolvency professionals across the UK, and find the right role to suit your ambitions.