Social Media Vetting

If you’re in your mid to late twenties or even your early thirties, chances are that you’ve fooled around long enough and it is time to think about getting your life together. Many people in this age bracket have graduated from college, and have at least their bachelor’s degree in something that they’re not using. They’re probably drowning in student loan debt and the job they love isn’t enough to keep their head above water. It’s time to think about being an adult and acquiring a career. Where, however, is the jumping off point? Where do you begin?

The hunt for a career begins with the job search. You’ve probably been perusing every resume site on the internet, you’ve applied for a handful of different jobs, and many of these employers have your resume in their manicured hands. While many college students aren’t taught the art of writing a proper resume these days, the internet makes them passable, at least. So if the problem isn’t the resume, and you’re qualified for the job, why aren’t you getting called to be interviewed for the position? Why does it seem like you’re always passed over?

It could be one of several reasons that you’re not getting the phone calls you want to get. Everyone else in the world in calling, especially the people you don’t want to hear from, but the jobs aren’t pouring in. One reason these positions aren’t phoning is that you don’t have the experience necessary for the job, which is a valid reason and the employer doesn’t think it is fair to waste your time, or theirs. If you lack the requisite experience to fill the position, it’s often a double-edged sword. You need the job to get the experience, but you can’t get the job because you don’t have the experience. It’s a vicious circle, for sure, but there is little that can be done to change it.

There could be another reason you’re not getting called, and it’s a hot-button issue in the job market; social media vetting. Vetting is the process by which an employer investigates their applicants before they even agree to meet with them in person. Social media vetting is kind of a new thing in the employer-potential employee relationship, as social media has become increasingly popular over the years. During this process, an employer looks into potential employees’ social media activity to determine whether or not they’ll be a good fit for the company.

It’s controversial, at best. Many people maintain that social media vetting isn’t a fair practice, as a social media profile can go back several years and that the span isn’t an accurate portrayal of who the employee is as a person anymore. Employers who use this practice, however, argue that social media vetting is similar to obtaining a background check or a drug test on a potential new hire, in that they are looking into how the person has handled themselves over time. Many argue that social media vetting is an invasion of their privacy and that they’re not agreeing to it beforehand as they would with a background check or drug screening.

Basically, the employer pulls an application and a resume and proceeds to look the person over based on their social media profiles. They’re looking for specific markers that may lead them to believe you would or wouldn’t be a good fit for their business. They’re looking for ethical flubs, a history of flightiness, or negativity about past or present jobs or supervisors. They’re looking for a pattern of sorts, to determine whether or not you’re worth their time. We’re constantly told that what we put out on the internet is there forever, but it’s hard to believe when you’re eighteen years old.

So how do you combat social media vetting once it’s already out there? The first thing to do is go through your social media profiles and delete any past photo posts or status updates that may not be in line with jobs for which you’re planning to apply. Ask your friends to restrict what they’re posting on your profiles, or update your privacy settings so that you must approve anything that gets posted to your wall. While you can’t control what other people are sharing with you, you can keep anything negative from showing up on your wall. When you want to vent about your boss or your co-workers, do so in person with your friends or your family, and keep it off social media. Before posting anything that you’re unsure of, ask yourself the question; would you hire yourself?

It’s rare to consider your future when you’re twenty years old. We’re simply not set up to think about what lies ahead, as we tend to live in the moment when we’re young. However controversial it may be, social media vetting does happen in the workplace, and people are paying attention to what you’re putting out there. If you’re posting a cuss filled rant on your page, potential employers aren’t going to take kindly to that. Let this be a lesson to watch what you say and where you say it. Consider what type of future you’d like, and post accordingly.

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