An article by contributor Rachael Murphey.
Millennials are well-known for their social media use. After all, this is the first generation to actually grow up with computers, so it only makes sense that millennials would be far more avid users of social media than other generations. Unfortunately, it seems that not all millennials are fully aware of the possible consequences of their social media use. For this reason, we’ll now look at a few things that millennials need to know about social media and how it could potentially affect their ability to get a job.
Potential Employers Can and Will Check Your Social Media Profiles
Social media platforms like LinkedIn can be a huge help in allowing you to effectively market yourself and connect with potential employers. However, more and more employers are now performing online background checks, which means that they could potentially take your entire social media history into account when deciding whether or not to hire you. Unfortunately, many people have already learned this lesson the hard way. An employer has the legal right to deny you employment for any reason, which includes any posts you’ve made on social media.
Your Social Media Posts Are Permanent
Virtually everyone should be aware of this fact by now, but it still begs repeating. Most of your social media posts are permanent. Even if you delete a specific post or close your social media accounts entirely, the fact is that your potential employers may still be able to find posts or photos that you assumed were hidden or long gone from the internet. Simply put, it is usually not always possible to permanently delete anything you’ve posted on social media.
You can delete tweets and close your Twitter account, but your posts may have been shared and thus will still be available. It is even worse for anything you post on Facebook, as there is no way to actually delete your account or your posts. Once something is out there on social media, there is no way to take it back. Therefore, it is essential that everyone pays close attention to what they post and also to what others may post about you.
A Post You Made Years Ago Could Ruin Your Chances of Being Hired
As part of an online background check, an employer could potentially look into your entire social media history in an effort to determine whether you’re fit to represent their company. If your social media profile has pictures of you passed out or drunk at a party or if you made any racist, misogynistic or otherwise offensive posts, there is a high chance that a potential employer will find this information and use it to determine that you aren’t a proper fit for the job. Even if the post was from a decade ago, it could still come back to haunt you. Therefore, it is essential that you pay close attention to your social media usage and never post anything that you might regret later on.
More and more employers are beginning to perform an online background check even prior to scheduling an interview with potential employees. This means that your social media history could actually be harming your ability to find a job without you even knowing it. Unfortunately, there is nothing that you can do about your past social media use. However, you can at least attempt to prevent your future social media use from harming your ability to find work by simply being extra careful about what you post. Although social media has brought many benefits to people and society as a whole, it could also end up ruining your career and even your life if you’re not careful.
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Rachael Murphey is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado Boulder. She writes on entrepreneurship, finance, and personal success. She currently lives in Denver with her dog Charlie.