How to fix your social media footprint

Got a brand new resume, great LinkedIn profile and you are applying for roles that you are qualified in and have experience but are still not getting an interview? It could be your social media footprint letting you down.

Did you know 90% of executive recruiters do a social media search on candidates and 46% of candidates are rejected from an interview based on inappropriate content on their Facebook profile? And it is not just recruiters who prescreen candidates based on their social media footprint,  58% of companies hiring also check a candidate’s Facebook profile prior to offering an interview. These figures do not take into account a generalised google search that can unveil “digital dirt” on you. Most people looking for work in 2017 have a digital footprint, and often the content found on them is many years old.

What to do about it:

  1. Do a social media search on yourself.

Jump on Google and type in your name and see what comes up. Go past the first page and see what have you commented on publicly in the past that is visible. Have you written any politically potent or offensive comments on someone else’s public post that can be alienating to someone who does not share your view? Are there photos of you going hunting or excessively drunking or doing drugs? Have you slandered past employers on your public Facebook profile? Do not forget to click the Images button to check what photos of you have been posted for the world to see.

A list of common social media faux pas that can create a negative image to recruiters and hiring managers:

  • Inappropriate profile photos
  • Photos from your hunting trip
  • Wild parties and the photos to prove it
  • Photos of guns
  • Photos or memes about drugs
  • Complaining and whining about why no one will give you a job
  • Talking like a gangsta (when in fact everyone knows you aren’t one)
  • Political or religious comments that are extreme (right or left)
  • Over opinionated views of any sort
  • Constant venting or playing the victim
  • Abusive or bullying comments on people posts
  1. Go into damage control

  • Remove old comments that people can find when they google you. If you are unable to remove something from a third party site, email them and ask for removal. They have to remove a comment you have written if you ask
  • Contact people who have tagged you in unprofessional photos and ask them to remove the tags
  • Ask friends and family to also search for you and see if they find red flags that you missed
  • Go through your Facebook history and remove any negative or offensive comment you have written in public and private groups (this will take a lot of time but can be worth it)

  1. Moving forward

Keep your personal brand in mind when using social media by:

  • Changing your privacy settings to private on all your accounts – Twitter, Facebook & Instagram have settings where you can choose who sees your shares and content (but beware of privacy changes in the future)
  • Not complaining on public forums unless it is factual and warranted
  • Not providing negative reviews
  • Not posting photos of drug or alcohol fueled ventures
  • Watch your swearing
  • Using correct vocabulary, not slang or lazy spelling, e.g.,… ‘Ay, da, Straya, tonite, your instead of you’re, etc
  • Not complaining about any factors of your job search (but do share your wins, and your positive thoughts during the process)
  • Make sure your friends and family do not tag you in photos that can come back to haunt you
  • Keep your political and religious views private. Only share with people in your private setting

Remember you are responsible for your own personal brand, and regardless if you like it or not, you need to play the recruiter game. Do not let personal differences get in the way of you landing a dream job, be smart on social media and be as appealing as you can to everybody. The best way to protect yourself is to be as private as you can, so check your privacy settings regually and watch what you write on public forums.

Good Luck!


First Seven Seconds offers an indepth social media background search for job seekers. To find out how much recruiters can find out about you, contact us today.

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