Social Media Background Check

By Alina Hansen

Partying hard one night and posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram the next day can potentially cost you a future job. There are now discussions on having separate profiles, personal and professional, to prevent mishaps that get people fired. Regardless of your choice, one profile or two, being aware of what you post online is important to your future. Today, it is not unusual for companies to research applicants on their social media.

One Social Media Profile Per Site

The work involved with having one account, both personal and professional, is less than having two separate profiles. The idea is if you only have one profile containing both professional and personal content, you will ultimately show employers who you really are. A drawback of having one profile per social media platform is you have to be constantly aware of the content you are posting. It can feel like stepping on eggshells to post something without knowing if it could affect your job prospects in the future.

For those who believe in baring all to the world and not holding back, there could be a certain kind of freedom in having one profile. Unapologetic honesty cuts down on time and the questions employers will have while looking at your profile. Employers will know if you are the right person for the job faster if they don’t have to look at multiple profiles. Just being yourself, which includes showcasing what you love to do, your skills and your social life can also impress a potential employer.

Be Responsible

Facebook, the giant networking room of the world. Twitter, the arena of thoughts. Instagram, where the idealized and idolized reign. These three social media platforms contribute to building a presence and connecting with others in today’s world. Social media networking sites have become staples of everyday living, the unsaid prerequisite to being a part of society.

President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed is an example of having one profile for both personal and professional use. Americans get glimpses into the workings of his mind in his rapid-fire tweets that lead the United States through regular ups and downs. Living in the era of Trump tweets is expecting the unexpected, and that has become a normality for Americans. The blow of each tweet has now created a certain numbness and prolonged disbelief when reading what the president has to say. It could be considered beneficial that Trump’s tweets are available for everyone to read. The public can read them and respond to what he has to say even faster than in the past.

There have been many stories about people being fired for posting inappropriate content online. In 2015, a Rolling Stone article titled “A Brief History of People Getting Fired for Social Media Stupidity,” listed 17 ways people have gotten fired for social media choices. One example included a picture of a Taco Bell employee urinating on food at work. It is crucial to acknowledge there is a certain amount of accountability when it comes to the content you choose to post online. For instance, employees of the state of Utah are subject to specific social media guidelines when working professionally with social media. If a person makes a comment with racist or sexist content, others will often follow up on and report to employers who said what and when.

Be aware of how social media can benefit or damage your future. You can build your presence online and solidify your dedication to a specific career or job position by showing the world what you can do. Reaffirming skills and presenting the best of yourself in an honest way can attract potential employers. Remember that deleting profiles or opting out of participating in social media networking sites can discourage employers.

Decide What is Best for You

Having two profiles — one personal and one professional — takes more work to upkeep. To cut down on time spent on maintaining two profiles, choose certain sites for either professional or personal use. For instance, use Instagram and Facebook for personal use while using LinkedIn and Twitter for your professional image. The number of profiles you choose and for what purpose depends on how comfortable you are exposing yourself to potential employers. Keep in mind that having two profiles for each networking site can also divide your audience.

In rare cases, some companies have asked for employees’ login information to their social media accounts. Because of this, many states have created laws to ban employers from complete access to employee accounts. To prepare for being asked by an employer about your social media, there is no harm in looking up a company’s policies and guidelines beforehand.

Succeeding in Social Media

Take into account how comfortable you are knowing employers could be looking at your profiles. Assess how private you want to be — having separate profiles or one catch-all profile. Think before posting and actively monitor your social media. Consider social media a tool to help you in the professional world. It can benefit your job search. It is crucial now to consider social media as a tool instead of a popular form of cultural entertainment, especially when it often carries serious consequences.

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