Social Media & Job Hunting

Chandni Dubal graduated from a small university in Denton, Texas with a major in fashion merchandising and marketing in the spring of 2013. Chandni interned at Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry during college. After moving to NYC, Chandni began her professional career by working at Tibi and is now working as an Allocator in the Planning department at Burberry.

You know it’s around recruiting time when you start seeing names you don’t recognize on your Facebook newsfeed. People try to rearrange the letters in their name or spell it phonetically incorrect so that recruiters are unable to find them on Facebook. But is this really that efficient?
I suppose it’s kind of productive. However, most people disregard a few important factors of disguising yourself on social media. Firstly, if the email address that you registered onto these websites with is the same one that you provided on your job application then they can probably still find you. And when they see your modified name, they could jump to the conclusion that you are hiding something. Also, when I spoke to one of the recruiters at Burberry during my internship, he told me that they search the applicant on Google and look at the search results and the images that come up to see if that person’s image adheres to the brand’s image. Therefore, I would suggest completing that search on your own. Then, if there is something that you would not like to be shown in the results, then you can make sure to remove it from the internet or just make it private. When I Google my own name, there are basically just headshots from my profile pictures and even my Friendster account (remember that??) comes up at the bottom of the first page of the search results.
So how can this make or break you? According to a survey done by CareerBuilder, a certain percentage of employers did not hire applicants based on information found on social media sites. Factors included:
• Provocative or in appropriate photos or information: 53%
• Drinking or drug abuse: 44%
• Bad-mouthing a previous employee, colleague, or client: 35%
• Poor communication skills: 29%
• Discriminatory comments: 26%
• Dishonesty about qualifications: 24%
• Leaked confidential info from previous or current jobs: 20%

There’s obviously different ways of going about “job proofing” your social media profiles for different job types. If you are applying to a company with more of a conservative culture then you know that they might be more sensitive to different types of content that you may post, such as a picture from Saturday night out with your girls taking a round of shots. Also, I think it is in anyone’s best interest to not talk poorly of your boss or a co-worker on the internet. Whine to your best friends about it over a bottle of wine but don’t exploit whatever issue you may have to the world of social media. You don’t want that small heated moment to ruin your potential with the current company you work for or with any other prospective job opportunities.
Many people do believe that employers cross a line by using your social media profiles against your application, but quite frankly, we have to evolve with these new trends as well. Employers have the option of looking at your Facebook, Instagram, etc. to gain more insight into you as an individual. They are interviewing you to hire you to represent their brand and company; therefore they will try their absolute best to protect their image. Certain things, though, are unfair. For example, it is obvious that some or many people may type differently on Facebook than they would while typing up an email to a client, so it can be unfair for an employer to use that against you as an applicant.
Whether we like it or not, social media is a way for employers to get to know you beyond a couple of interviews. Therefore, I do believe it is a good idea to “filter” your Facebook to make it more appropriate for a young professional. Maintaining professionalism through social media while searching for jobs or trying to establish yourself as a young professional can be more beneficial than you’d expect. Your Facebook profile or Twitter can even serve as a positive thing for you as an applicant.

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