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Glenford Smith | Is Your Social Media Profile Helping Or Hurting Your Career?

Published:Sunday | March 20, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Is your social media profile helping or hurting your chances of landing a job? That's a question only you can answer. The cautionary observations from a leading tech-savvy CEO should go a far way in helping you determine your answer, however.

She told me: "We put up ads on Facebook all the time looking for people for our clients and ourselves. People will tag their friends who will respond to the ads. I'll immediately go and check the applicants' Facebook page. Too many times I'll go: Oh my God, don't these people know that a potential employer will go look at their Facebook page?"

She also reports seeing pictures of female applicants 'backing it up' and 'twerking' on Facebook. Add to that, guys 'sticking up their middle fingers' and 'doing silly stuff.' She told me she wouldn't hire 99 per cent of people applying for a job, based on their Facebook and Instagram pages.

Wow! That's cause for alarm, don't you think? And that's not all, I'm sorry to say.

What she didn't mention were the instances of people mostly women, based on my observations who have taken to Facebook to vent. Or share their exciting life with the world at parties, at the beach, or just chasing the family pet!

Let's not neglect to mention the flirtatious and even salacious Facebook comments many men make on the pictures of their suggestively attired women friends. Same goes for women's comments on their male friends' eye-popping physique or suave attire.

Now, you may think: So what? I'm an adult; I can do what I want. To that, the answer is an unequivocal yes. You are right about that. You also need to remember, however, that you're an adult who's looking a job to work for someone else. And there's the rub.

Prospective employers will hire you based upon the impression they form of you. And increasingly, they rely on more than your remarkable academic or employment record to form their perceptions of you. In every single case, you can bet they're checking you out on Google Search, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, to start.

They're reading the posts in your timeline. Checking out your family members and family life. Your personal history.

They're checking out the profiles of the people who comment on your pictures and posts. All the time they're making judgements about you your character, personality, trustworthiness, background, intelligence and professionalism.

What impression would a prospective employer form of you based on your social media profile? Take some time to check it out. Plug your name into Google's search engine. Review your other social media profiles and activities. What do they say about you?

This article is focused on alerting jobseekers about the danger of unthinking social media habits. It's, however, relevant for self-employed persons, executives and employed professionals. Your prospective customers and clients; your bosses, colleagues, competitors and staff routinely check you out online too.

Protect and manage your career prospects and possibilities by leveraging your social media to create an appropriately professional image of you. This will help rather than harm your job-hunting and general career success.

Glenford Smith is a motivational speaker and success strategist. He is the author of 'From Problems to Power' and

co-author of 'Profile of Excellence'.