April 30, 2024 | Matthew Burke

How Social Media Can Affect Your Job Search

Have you been applying to jobs and not hearing anything back?

If you’re not getting the outcome you’d hoped for or that you feel your experience deserves, perhaps you should take a step back and evaluate your technique.

There are a number of things that can hinder your job search success—and this one tops the list.

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What Should We Be Doing?

The most difficult part for many of us is knowing which behaviors to do more of and which to do less of. This can be especially challenging in today’s society where the right to privacy has become seemingly more complex.

cubes collection with printed logos of world-famous social networkAntlii, Shutterstock

Privacy Online

It’s important to remember that our right to privacy online is complex, and not as secure as you may think. In fact, many platforms may share your information with other businesses or share your information with law enforcement under certain circumstances.

Two steps authentication concepttete_escape, Shutterstock


For example, using Snapchat you are also agreeing to the terms of their service, which grants Snapchat the right to a royalty fee, allow Snapchat to use, reproduce, edit and distribute the consent that you post on the platform, regardless if your account is set to private (Snapchat Terms of Service: 2 Rights You Grant Us).

image of a snapchat playstoreSudarsan Thobias, Shutterstock

Technology Advancement

With the surge of technology in recent years, there are few people who are not digitally connected to the world in one way or another.

This means nearly everyone is findable. In fact, technologically inclined people can find almost anything they want online, including what you’ve been up to.

Human Resource Management and Recruitment and Hiring conceptSudtawee Thepsuponkul, Shutterstock

It Goes Beyond Calling References Now

This is especially true for employers. In fact, many of them hire people specifically to dig up dirt on prospective employees—and the first place they look is where most of us spend a great deal of our time.

Social networking service conceptmetamorworks, Shutterstock

Social Media

Social media is great for connecting, but if you’ve ever been bored or curious, you may have done a little snooping yourself. So, you may know how easy it can be, especially for those “open book” type people who share every detail of their lives with the online world.

image of woman using InstagramKaspars Grinvalds, Shutterstock

Different Platforms

Sure, there are different platforms meant for different things. You shouldn’t post the same status updates on LinkedIn that you post on Facebook, for example. But it is important to note that employers aren’t just looking at your LinkedIn, they are snooping around everywhere.

image of social media apps homepages on a monitorGil C, Shutterstock

This Includes Search Engines

We spoke to a higher-up in a hospital setting who very clearly said she, “googles all prospective employees” before even meeting them. She searches them on all social media platforms and makes a decision to move forward or not based on their online activity.

This is not true for all employers, but it’s definitely happening out there.

man Browsing on Google WebsiteRawpixel.com, Shutterstock

Red Flags

These are the top red flags employers go looking for. And if they find them, you can kiss an interview goodbye.

Wooden figure leader with red flagTanoy1412, Shutterstock

1. Complaints About Your Current Job or Employer

Avoid complaining about your job online. This includes your boss, your coworkers, your work schedule, your work load, etc. Keep your employment off social media entirely.

Woman Working at her Desk Giving Negative FeedbackNicoleta Ionescu, Shutterstock

2. Strong Opinions and Rants

Refrain from oversharing on social media. This can include a wide range of topics. The truth of the matter is, as soon as employers get even the slightest negative opinion on you, you’re out of the running. This can be bias, but unfortunately, you’ll never even know.

Person using a social media marketing concept on mobile phoneRoBird, Shutterstock

3. Excessive Status Updates

No one should feel like they have to follow more rules online, and truly it is up to your discretion. However, posting every little change in your personal and professional status may come across as excessive—and you open yourself up to judgement.

businesswoman using smart phone13_Phunkod, Shutterstock

4. Overly Personal Photos

Some social media platforms are set up specifically for photo sharing. But it’s important to be mindful of the content you are sharing, and who may come across it.

If you’re unsure if you should share something, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with your boss seeing it.

image of two girls taking selfieRaushan_films, Shutterstock

5. Personal Information

Never post your personal information online, including your full name, address, phone number, etc. Not only is this a safety concern in general, it also opens you up to job scams—which are becoming more and more frequent in today’s society.

image of Block unknown sender screenCelia Ong, Shutterstock

6. Bad Grammar and

Although you may come back and say, “it’s social media, it isn’t meant to be professional,” sadly, that’s not how some employers see it.

Be careful with homophones (ie. to, too, and two) especially, as they can make you appear uneducated.

image of Grammar explanationdizain, Shutterstock

7. Poor Etiquette

Avoid using all caps (which can come across as shouting), excessive use of exclamation points or hashtags, and of course cussing and inappropriate words.

Girl feeling awkward saying inappropriate wordMix and Match Studio, Shutterstock

8. Private Conversations

Ever notice when people comment on someone’s post and then a whole conversation follows? Not only does this send notifications to everyone, it also airs the entire conversation for everyone to read.

Use private messaging services for private conversations.

Macro image with details from the Facebook mobile appMircea Moira, Shutterstock

9. Politics

Has anyone ever advised you not to talk about politics or religion? Though that may be increasingly difficult in today’s world given the political situations we are facing, that just stresses its importance even more. Political opinions vary greatly, and not everyone is as open to opposing opinions.

image of phone with social media appsJRdes, Shutterstock

10. Finances

Keep your financial status offline. Bragging about your finances, or crying the blues about your lack-there-of can be seen as a character flaw. Be humble, and keep your cash flow to yourself.

Green dollar money sign symbol on stick-note over speech bubbleGonzalo Aragon, Shutterstock



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