AARP Eye Center
Whether you’ve always wanted to have a long career or high inflation has affected your retirement plans, if you’ve decided to get a new part- or full-time job or contract work, don’t overlook your social media when updating your résumé and LinkedIn profile.
While what you post online wasn’t a consideration when job hunting 20 years ago, various surveys show that most potential employers are looking over your shoulder now at your Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, TikTok, Twitter or other social media beyond LinkedIn — with or without your knowledge. Many companies today check your social media activity to get a sense of the kind of person you are even before they invite you for an interview.
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So look for these red flags in past posts to clear them out before you embark on a job search.
1. Inappropriate comments, photos
We all have different senses of humor and opinions on what’s considered appropriate. But it’s always best to err on the side of caution publicly.
Obvious posting activity that could hurt your chances of getting hired includes insulting or harassing others, having sexist comments, sharing political views, using strong profanity or commenting negatively about someone’s race, religion, nationality or skin color. This is common sense.
Study the image you’re presenting. You might think it’s innocent, but a photo of you impersonating someone or poking fun at something can be incredibly offensive. Delete photos that would be unappealing to a potential employer, such as a vacation image of you less dressed and very tipsy.
Also be aware of any photos or videos of you partaking in illegal substances, including marijuana, even though pot is legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia as of January.
Shy away from politics. While you might be a proud Democrat or Republican, remember that not everyone has the same political views. You could be severely limiting your opportunities by posting a photo of yourself wearing a button, cap or T-shirt that suggests your political affiliation, and by all means, avoid revealing your political leanings in your profile picture.
2. Complaining about your job, boss
Your prospective boss, a hiring manager or someone in human resources might look to see what you’ve posted about your previous employer.
Did you have anything negative to say publicly about the company or brand? Or in a momentary lapse in judgment, did you write something snarky about your former boss that you forgot to take down?