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Social Media is the New Background Check

Posted December 9, 2013 by Jill Vived in Building Your Brand

Holiday Party Season

It’s holiday season, setting the stage for numerous holiday parties and get togethers—and providing the perfect photo ops with which to update your social networks. That photo of you sitting on Santa’s lap with a martini in hand? You can’t wait to post that one; your bestie who lives on the opposite coast will just love it!

However, with all the fun and festivities, it is a good time to be reminded—employers are using social networks now more than ever to vet potential employees. No longer is sharing Friday night’s fun just between friends; it can greatly influence your current and future career prospects as well. In many ways, social media has become the new background check.

The Public Employee

It is unfortunate, really, that we can’t just go have fun these days without worrying about the farther reaching consequences. I know I’ve had many holiday party exploits that may not have fared well for my professional self had they been made known to the general public (and future or current employers) through social media, but thankfully they remained just between friends.

But these days, Career Girls, a word to the wise: if you do it in public, it likely will become even more public, through Facebook, Instagram, or the latest Vine video.

Is Social Media the New Background Check?

So that begs the question: what social networks are being used to vet job candidates? Check out this infographic put together by Mashable outlining just that entitled “The Best Network for the Job“. Not surprisingly, LinkedIn comes in first, with 94% of recruiters surveyed using LinkedIn as their number one resource for vetting job candidates; but before you get too relaxed about publicizing your holiday party exploits, note that 65% are also vetting on Facebook—a move which might motivate you to convince your bestie to take down some of the more provocative shots she posted of you posing with Santa’s helpers.

Now more than ever, your personal brand sets the stage for your career, both in your current role and in future roles. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use the latest social technologies to connect with friends, acquaintances, and business contacts; it merely means you should use good judgment when telling the world about you. And that, Career Girls, is a rule that never goes out style.

Happy holidays, Career Girls! Have some fun this holiday season—just be sure to keep any potentially career damaging exploits offline and truly between friends.

About the Author

Jill Vived

Jill Vived is a freelance writer and marketing communications professional currently working as the Director of Marketing for Vivalta, Inc., a recruiting firm specializing in placing finance and accounting professionals in Denver and San Francisco she co-owns with her husband. Working in the search industry has given Jill a distinct perspective on careers and job search that she is excited to share with Career Girls everywhere. When she is not reading up on everything marketing, branding, and career related, Jill spends her time chasing around her two young children, dreaming up DIY crafts, and enjoying the great outdoors.