How Social Media Affects Your Career Prospects

The best preparation for good work tomorrow is to do good work today.
— Elbert Hubbard

How many ten year olds are thinking about their future careers? Even from an early age we dare to dream...

  • "I want to be an astronaut!"
  • "I want to be a nurse!"
  • "I want to be a rockstar!"

At a similar time, children are also beginning to use social media.  

75% of children between the age of 10 and 12 have signed up to at least 1 social media account. 

Why is this important? 

A child's future career prospects could be being damaged by their digital footprint. 

Is an employer really going to care about what I posted on Instagram when I was young? 

A prospective employer may not trawl through years and years of social media posts, and judge you on an incriminating photo posted in your younger years. 

However, it's important from at the age we start using social media that we understand the consequences of what we post. Not having this awareness could one day cost a child a dream career they have worked so hard towards, purely because of some silly social media posts.


Are employers really looking at my social media page?

There's a good chance that these three will be looking at your social media profiles, if you applied for job with them. 

There's a good chance that these three will be looking at your social media profiles, if you applied for job with them. 

43% of employers use social media to research job candidates
— CareerBuilder

Only 43% of employers? Let's put that into perspective. That's nearly one in every two jobs you will apply for. It's more than likely you'll be applying to a plethora of jobs - so there's a very good chance your social media will act as a CV.

Just how competitive is the modern job market? 

The job market is tough. Finding a new job can be a long and stressful process. So make it easier for yourself and be vigilant about what you post on social media. 

Okay, so what makes a bad social media post? 

Contrary to many beliefs of students, the ability down a point is not considered an impressive skill outside of University.

Contrary to many beliefs of students, the ability down a point is not considered an impressive skill outside of University.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of it is common sense. Social media is fantastic because it gives us a platform to express ourselves and showcase our unique personality. However we must be careful of what we are sharing.

55% of employers have reconsidered a candidate based on what they have found on social media. So be vigilant on what you are posting.

Here are the worst things you can post on social media:

1. The worst thing you can do is make any kind of references to illegal drugs. That should probably be common sense — but in case it’s not, know that 83% of recruiters say doing so is a strong turn off. (Perhaps more interestingly (or worryingly): 2% of hiring managers think it’s a positive.) 


2. Also on the “obviously don’t do this” list are “sexual posts,” which 70% of recruiters say will count against you (only 1% are fans).

3. 66% of employers were instantly turned off by posts with "any kind of weapon".  References to violence is a turn off for employers! 

4. THIS ONE IS A BIG ONE. 44% of employers find posts about alcohol concerning. Now this does not mean you can never upload a photo of you with a drink. It means be responsible, and be aware of the perception you give.



The golden rule: Don't upload anything you would be ashamed for your parents to see! 

5. Don't be a potty mouth - Sure, by the age of thirteen or fourteen many teenagers have built up an impressive repertoire of obscenities - but there is no need to share your vast knowledge of rude words with the internet, keep them to yourself. 

Where will employers be looking? 

Okay so we have established that employers WILL be looking at your social media profiles, but where will they be looking? The internet is a big place but employers WILL find you.

Social media networks are built so that it's easy to find who you are looking for, and no doubt your job application will list the details that they need to find you. 

1. LinkedIn: Unsurprisingly, 94% of all employers who look at candidates social media profiles look at LinkedIn. LinkedIn is your professional social network so there should be nothing incriminating what so ever (hopefully!). These numbers do stress how important it is to have LinkedIn. Why not run a workshop in your sixth form on how to create the perfect LinkedIn profile? 

2. Facebook: It's no surprise that after LinkedIn,  Facebook (the world's biggest social media network) is the most looked at social network with 65% of employers looking at candidates profiles. 

3. Twitter: 55% of employers will look at your Twitter profiles. Many people think that Twitter is trickier to find but employers WILL find your profile. People will generally post more incriminating things than they would on Facebook on Twitter because they use it as a network to post their daily thoughts and be cautious. 

4. YouTube: 15% of employers will look at your YouTube channel. So the next time you feel like uploading a video of how to down the perfect pint or swear in 120 different languages...think twice! 

5. Other networks: 13% of all employers look at other social networks. This can be anything from Instagram to Snapchat. So the best rule here is to just be careful across every network you use :) 


It's not all gloom and doom

Let's see that smile :) 

Let's see that smile :) 

We are not trying to scare you. The great thing about social media is that it is your own personal space where you can showcase your own unique personality :) 

Here are some useful hints to what you can post on your social media profile to leave a positive impact on employers: 

1. Share your blog: Share your blog posts on your social media channels. Employers love to see what you do in your own time. Show off your blog, it will be sure to impress a prospective employer (if the content is good).

2. Share your hobbies / interests: People want to employ interesting people who are passionate about something. If your an avid footballer, dancer or even a geologist, share related content and images to show employers you're an interesting person.

3: Use proper grammar and spelling: Just because you are posting on social media doesn't give you an excuse for slack grammar and spelling.


4. Be interesting: Employers will look at thousands of social media profiles. Social media is YOUR platform, it is YOUR stage. Embrace the stage to showcase your unique personality. Being different will really catch the prospective employers eye. 

5. Embrace video: Video is becoming more and more prominent on social. Video is a fantastic way to really showcase yourself and to leave an impact on employers. Create a YouTube channel and embrace video to leave a lasting impression. 


Now go and chase those dreams!

Social media gives everybody a platform to go and express themselves but it's important that we know what mistakes we can make to scare off prospective employers before we start using it.

For more information about using social media safely check out our social media guide for parents. 

We would love to hear any thoughts/comments you have below.