Professional Presentation

A reader writes:

“Hi Anita. I have been hearing rumors that employers are checking out their employees’ and interviewees’ social media profiles and postings. Is this true?”

Dear Social Butterfly,

Yes, many employers do take into account your presence in the social media arena when they are looking to hire you. I even had one manager ask me about it on this site – check out “Facebook – A Hiring Manager’s Best Friend” here.

Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, blogs (such as this one), and other social networking sites can give employers insight into how you present yourself, your behavior, and how you will perform as an employee. They will look at your pictures, your personal postings, the way you communicate with others, even your written communication (grammar, punctuation, and spelling)! Bottom line is, anything you post will have an impact on your image.

Here are some helpful hints to keep your professional image squeaky clean.

–          When posting on workplace blogs and other professional sites, try your best to use correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Keep profanity and other explicit content out of sight. You never know who could be looking!

–          If you choose to have a Facebook profile, keep your pictures and postings PG-rated. The latest snapshots from last weekend of you celebrating at a bachelor/bachelorette party or (as the kids say these days) “hittin’ up da club” — no matter how fun it may have been — is not what employers want to find while getting to know you. You want to keep, have, and maintain a professional image in your employer’s minds.

–          In general, it is always best to leave politics and religion out of business conversations.

–          If you are currently employed, do not bash your current position or your boss! For one thing, it is in bad form. Also, your next employer may take that negative “woe is me” mentality as a sign you have a bad attitude.

More helpful tips:

–          Check your accounts regularly. You do not want someone to be spamming or sending out any X-rated material from your profiles!

–          If you choose to engage with a potential employer via their Social Networking site, ask yourself:

  • What kind of impression am I leaving? Good or Bad?
  • Are my posts too frequent? You want to appear eager but not desperate for a position.
  • Are your comments and contributions to posts appropriate and relevant to the subject being discussed?

–          Project positivity and optimism on your page. It will be far more impressive to onlookers.

–          Have a professional picture across all social media outlets.

–          The best professional place for social media is LinkedIn. I recently posted a blog about LinkedIn and how to use it effectively and efficiently. Click here to learn more: Loving LinkedIn

Take my advice and be free and clear of a bad first impression.

Best Wishes,


9 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Tracy-wireless franchise
    Jul 27, 2012 @ 08:40:57

    Yes, I do believe that my employees are checking me in on Facebook before and after they hire me.. In fact me and my bosses are friends in Facebook. But the only thing I hated on this matter is that they pry on what you in the social media scene. Only one thing is clear to me though~ there is no PRIVACY in the INTERNET. Unless you wanted your profile faceless and decided not to put anything about you ; then better not sign in if you wanted to remain private.



  2. m.capriola
    May 16, 2012 @ 11:40:05

    Sad news for everyone: I recently came across a news item that said employers are using Facebook as a “character reference.”



    Your buddies might be wowed by the Facebook pics of you draped over a beer keg, but I would hesitate before hiring you. I don’t need people coming to work on Monday hung over.

    If you post something on Facebook or on a message board or whatever it’s as private as having it printed in the newspapers. Just like a newspaper article or photo, your submission can be reprinted, cut out, photocopied, handed around. If Earl the aging janitor can clip a photo of your 14-year-old daughter dressed in her basketball outfit from the local paper and paste it into his scrapbook, just imagine what he can do with what you put on the Internet.

    If you want it kept secret or private, keep it off the Internet (and out of the newspapers).

    This means both your bosses and the company in general.

    Right, Elizabeth? You had to bad-mouth Laura on Facebook one night, and she fired your sorry ass the next day. Way to go. Idiot.



  3. designdakotastyle
    May 09, 2012 @ 09:25:41

    We used to have a saying in a restaurant I managed – don’t EVER write it down. If you do, prepare for the fallout. Granted, this had much to do with day staff v. night staff in the great silverware rolling wars of ’06 but I think the message rings more true today. The written word can be mean, offensive & unintentionally/intentionally stupid. As a potential employer, if a person believes their opinion is so important they must write it down in a public forum, like FB, they should be prepared for the fallout.

    The unethical line is drawn both ways – should I be looking at your FB page as a future employer? Probably not. Should people be posting things to an anonymous computer they would not say in person or public? Definitely not. An old school tip about ethics that i learned in pre-FB high school. if your grandma would be proud of what you say, how you act & your FB page- you won’t have anything to worry about from future employers.



  4. Beverly Payne Armstrong
    May 08, 2012 @ 15:05:22

    I also feel that there is nothing on any social media site that I would not want an employer to see. As a matter of fact there is a lot of information I leave open for the public to see about me. I am who I am. I have learned that it is very difficult to know how someone sees or views you by something you post. I see myself as an easy person to work along side with. You will never know a person unless you meet them rather going by a social website. Don’t be misinformed by someones words or opinions. We should all embrace that people have their views on differ situations. I judge no one until I meet them myself. And then again who are we that we may judge someone else, and having a closed mind before you meet someone is so ridiculous in itself.



  5. Dan
    May 08, 2012 @ 11:08:28

    Anita, If companies or potential employers are doing this type of activity, it is against the discrimination laws. They are judging the cart before the horse. Facebook and twitter are public forums, but they can be set to private status’s. If people do this, then how is it still possible for companies or people who the companies hire to investigate people on who they are on facebook?

    As for a person who has been out of work for 3 years because of an accident with Comcast Cable Company as a Service Technician level 3 for almost 3 years, I was electrocuted while servicing a customer on a utility pole and was shocked so bad that 96% of my teeth blew out of my mouth, most of my hair all over my body was burned off, my cell phone and signal meter were melted and I had a cut artery above my right eye from slamming against the ladder during the shock. Comcast has NOT made any kind of offer to settle any Workers Compensation claims or medical or dental bills. Furthermore, they terminated me via email while I was in the hospital after the accident during my 2nd head surgery for 3 days of no call/no show. I was already in the hospital for 3 months at that time.

    Now you tell me, how can a company investigate a person and not get the full story of why a person is really off of work? I am ready and eager to get back to work. I was cleared to return to work, but no climbing utility poles. Comcast refuses to hire me back nor make any offer to settle the Workers Comp. claim outside of court. They feel I’m alive and I can work someplace else.

    No job is safe anymore. The Government has torn this economy to bits. Long term companies that were doing well are now struggling to keep the doors open. They cut hours of business and cut employees. I believe that once a person is working again, there will be a lot of pressure and stress lifted off that person’s chest. Positive attitude will follow.

    Ex-Comcast Cable Service Tech.



  6. Sharon
    May 08, 2012 @ 10:53:41

    Think about this – what if a perspective employer checks out your name on the social media sites and it’s someone with the same name with not a very good impression coming across on their page. You might not get the job based on incorrect information that could be harmful to your career without even knowing about it. It’s ahuge risk to take.



  7. Dosha
    May 08, 2012 @ 09:48:38

    I find this is unethical, I have high privacy settings on my social sites. Employers can decide based on your family dynamic, as lots of employers don’t want to hire people with small children and such (illegal but prove it). I would not allow coworkers or employers access to my social sites except those made for strictly professional connections.



  8. pravinchn
    May 08, 2012 @ 08:18:23

    Reblogged this on pravinchn.



  9. Debbie
    May 08, 2012 @ 08:14:52

    Why do we have to click twice to get to the article. If I have openned the email I want to read the whole article. One click please. Just a suggestion. I really like the content of your blog. Thanks,



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Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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