• online reputation

    How Your Online Reputation Can Affect Your Job Search

    Having a fantastic resume will help you land a job, but it’s your online reputation that could make or break your next application. Despite the fact that your internet posting history plays a role in the hiring process, only 15% of people think that this information has an effect.

    The online age has made us more available than ever. We constantly post photos, Facebook statuses, and tweets without thinking through them. Although these may be throw-away posts that don’t represent our personalities, employers don’t know that. They take what they see at face value, and sometimes that can cost you a job.

    The Downsides of Social Media

    There is a long list of reasons a company might not hire you, so why give them extra ammunition?

    Over half of employers have reported that they decided not to hire a candidate based on what they found on social media. Your resume could give you a slight edge on the competition, but if your online reputation is poor, your less qualified counterpart will probably get the offer.

    Photo Evidence

    For the younger crowd, teachers and parents probably warned you to be careful what you post. Future employers may see the photos of your with a Smirnoff bottle in your college dorm. While this one photo probably won’t destroy your chances at a job, a full album of partying pictures on your profile will raise some red flags.

    Annie Ad 2

    An inappropriate photo or a group of unsavory photos don’t speak well of your personality. If you have a run-in with some illegal drugs, don’t post those on social media. Employers consider these elements, even if you think they’ll never see it.

    Burning Bridges

    Love to complain? Well, keep it to yourself. This advice is decent for all aspects of life, but it’s especially true when it comes to your company and social media.

    Future employers don’t want to see you bad mouthing your former employer with one foot out the door. You could be complaining about pay, hours, or benefits – and the complaints could be valid. Keep them to yourself.

    Future employers know that they might be past employers at some point. How do they know that you won’t bad-mouth them when you leave? You might even share sensitive company information on your way out the door. It’s too much of a risk for a company to take.

    What do you get by complaining, anyway? Someone might feel bad for you and write, “Oh that stinks,” in the comments. It’s not worth a dozen likes if your next company is going to see it.

    “Hot Takes”

    With social media, most of us live in a bubble. Everyone who sees our posts generally like them and agree with them. They receive support, which drives us to post more to get more likes and attention.

    There’s a strong psychological aspect when it comes to social media, and the Mark Zuckerbergs of the world know it. We post because attention and validation feel good, even if it’s purely superficial.

    A company might not hire you if they see you post something that they consider to be insensitive. It might be racially-charged, politically motivated, or otherwise controversial. Your followers may love the hot political takes, but future employers sure don’t.

    Poor Wording

    The content of what you post might not even be the problem. It could be the way you express yourself. For many roles, communication skills are key. If your employer has access to an online conversation you’ve had and you express yourself poorly, that may be enough for them to pass on you for a job.

    It may seem petty, but employers take things like this into account. If your posts are full of spelling and grammar errors and the job has anything to do with communication, employers will take this as a red flag.

    Posting too Frequently

    Being glued to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram isn’t a good thing for many reasons. One of those reasons is that employers are watching.

    You might be posting clean, family friendly content, but it doesn’t matter if you can’t go an hour without a status update. Not only does this practice show that you’re tweeting while you should be working, but it tells employers that you might care too much about your online reputation within your social network.

    Ghosting Yourself

    Since there are so many things working against you, you might think it’s easier to hide your profile instead of cleaning it up. Although this strategy makes sense, it can actually be a negative when employers search for you.

    Some employers will think you’re hiding something with your online profile. If they can’t find any trace of you, many will assume the worst. If you don’t have anything to hide, just clean up your profile and display it to the world.

    Make the Most of Your Online Reputation

    Social media isn’t all bad. In fact, there are some ways that your posts can help you get a job instead of hurt you. Employers search for your online reputation to get a better idea of who you are. They aren’t looking for a reason to go with another candidate, so maximize your chances by developing a better online reputation.


    Separate Business From Social

    Create professional profiles that employers can search for and find a good future employee. Use a professional photo, and share infrequent posts that support your qualification claims. Use your professional social media profile as an extension of your resume.

    When an employer looks you up, they’re often trying to verify your background. Make it easy for them by listing the places you work along with your qualifications.

    Build Your Best Digitial Footprint

    The idea of employers searching for your online reputation shouldn’t be scary. You can utilize social media as a tool when it comes to employment. Don’t give your future employer any reason to reconsider hiring you. Think before you post, and create a professional profile that’s clear of anything questionable from your personal life.

    Need more tips on creating an online presence? Take a look at our blog!


Claire Bahn is the CEO and Co-Founder of Online Profile Pros (OPP). She founded OPP to help individuals build, maintain and protect their personal brand to help them get the jobs, promotions and dates they desire. She has 15 years experience in branding, public relations and event marketing at start-ups as well as large Fortune 500 companies like Rueters and SAP. Claire has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur magazines among others. Online Profile Pros helps executives, entrepreneurs & influencers strategize and create their best personal brand.


Leave a comment

If you want to share your opinion, leave a comment.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.