Hiring Managers are Looking at Social Media. Be Prepared!

Nowadays, social media is seemingly ubiquitous. Nearly everybody uses at least one form of it, and most have done so for many years. Over time, a person's actions on social media helps build up a depiction of their personality. More significantly, a person's social media persona is the way that person desires to be seen; people endlessly customize their pages and obsess over their tweets and statuses in an attempt to present themselves to the world in what they deem to be the right way. No wonder, then, that employers are interested in the social media profiles of their potential employees. If you're preparing for an interview and are nervous as to what the people you hope will be your bosses will think of your Facebook or Twitter, here are some words of advice.

The most common social media related turn-off for employers is, unsurprisingly, illegal drug use. It is understandable that employers would be extremely skeptical about an applicant who spends their spare time high on nefarious substances. It's questionable how reliable and sensible an employee such a person could be. In the same vein, employers have also indicated a dislike for posts about heavy alcohol consumption, for the same basic reason. Alcohol isn't quite as serious as illegal drugs because, well, it isn't illegal, but they don't want people coming into work in the morning hungover from overdoing it the night before.

Lacing all your social media posts with copious amounts of profanity is also probably not the best idea. Employers look for people who are excellent communicators and can work well as part of a team; people who swear every second word are unlikely to be adept at getting their point across and risk alienating their co-workers. Poor spelling and grammar will negatively influence employers in the same way. If you maintain high standards in these areas, even on something as informal as social media, it follows suit that you'll always hold yourself to a high standard in your day to day life, which is a real positive in the workplace.

Talking politics is always a risk, but it can sometimes have rewards. Somebody who holds outspoken opinions may cause friction with other works and contribute to a contentious work environment. However, some advisers will support the idea of including information about your hobbies and interests on your resumé, because if the person in charge of hiring happens to share those interests, they might subconsciously view your application more favorably. It's probably still not a wise idea to get too passionate about politics on social media, but the occasional dignified, thoughtful post on the subject might work in your favor. If you happen to volunteer and campaign for a political group, highlighting that on your resumé and in social media demonstrates that you're self motivated and willing to go the extra mile for things you believe in.