Is Your Social Media Footprint Helping or Hurting Your Career?

June 24th, 2013 | Articles, Job Search | 2 Comments »

social media
Social media sites have become one of the major sources of interaction in our society, which can be a good or a bad thing depending on how clean your social media footprints are. It doesn’t take the full force of the NSA to dig into your personal and professional life. In fact, if you have any type of presence on any of the major social media sites, a simple internet search can reveal a lot about you. The question is: does your social media presence help or hurt your career search?

Follow these tips to see how the major social media sites can help your quest for a job.


The largest and most personal of all the social media sites, Facebook can paint a rather professional, or crude picture of you.

How it can help you

Being the largest social media site, it is also the easiest for employers to find you on. Use this venue advertise any and all professional accomplishments that you have reached in your career. If you have just finished working on a particular website, broadcast the link for the world to see. Use this site to create a personal and clean image of yourself that people will like and respect.

How it can hurt you

If your profile is filled with political rants, pictures of yourself partying, or anything that is not suitable for the workplace it should be kept as private as possible. You can change your privacy setting so that only your friends can see your profile and prevent yourself from showing up on internet search engines. Also, remember that what is visible is not limited to what you upload, but friends can post and tag you in pictures as well. Make sure you are keeping tabs on what posts and pictures you are appearing in and ask your friends to refrain from posting any pictures of you doing unsightly things.


The ultimate social media site for professionals, LinkedIn provides user from all industries with a platform to broadcast their professional accomplishments.

How it can help you

This interactive resume site is the best place to network and meet connections for the workplace. You can post all sorts of professional and creative information about yourself, and your connections can endorse particular skills (just make sure to return the favor). You can also post links of any published pieces or links to websites that you have designed. Most importantly, it is a place to meet professionals in your field.

How it can hurt you

Make sure that you truthfully list your skills and work history since your current and future employers can view your profile’s every detail. Getting caught in a lie is, not surprisingly, hazardous to your potential job prospects. Also, if you are applying for jobs while currently employed, make sure that you set who can see your posts in order to keep from alerting your co-workers or your boss to the fact that you are looking for employment elsewhere.

Tumblr, Pinterest, YouTube, & Flickr

On the creative side of social media sites, these are the best places to completely differentiate yourself from other through creative hobbies.

How they can help you

Anyone with the proper hard skills can crunch numbers and write code, but what sets you apart from the rest of your field? Taking on creative hobbies adds a personal touch to any professional career, as hiring managers often look for unique skills and individual to add to their team. Whether it is drawing, painting, film, or photography, let your hobbies work for you by grabbing the attention of any the people in charge.

How they can hurt you

As always, be careful with the content of your work. Artistic pursuits are great ways to express yourself, but there is a time and place for everything. Vulgar, offensive, or politically controversial material that would not normally fit into the work environment should be avoided.

With some smart tactics you can make the most of your social media pursuits and maximize the creative and professional show a hiring manager will receive the next time he or she types your name into a search engine.

By Kevin Withers

Image courtesy of CatchThirtyThree via Flickr

2 Responses to “Is Your Social Media Footprint Helping or Hurting Your Career?”

  1. Tracey M Parker says:

    This is what I teach my students at Arizona College: to be very mindful in the things that they post. Great piece.

    T. M. Parker

  2. Kevin Withers says:

    Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for your comment, and thank you for teaching your students how to avoid posting harmful material on social media sites. Too many young job seekers are falling prey to simple mistakes that can cost them their jobs. Keep up the great work.

    -Kevin Withers