Job Hunting: Your Social Media is Your New Reference

in Job Hunting, Opinion, Risk, Technology

Job Hunting: Your Social Media is Your New Reference, the personal reference for a job is a key part of the hiring process. Many applications now ask for your Social Media “handles” for this very reason. Hint: if you give one handle, they have all of your handles, even your secret ones.

Bad Reference

More than once, when I have been involved in hiring someone, I have checked the persons references, only to find out that the reference:

  • Doesn’t know the person used them as a reference, and thus doesn’t really have much to say about them.
  • Doesn’t know the person used them as a reference, is annoyed and thus gives a bad reference
  • The person doesn’t even remember the person

The importance of a solid personal and job reference is the cornerstone of any job application. What is now supplanting the reference as the major impediment for folks who are qualified getting hired, is your Social Media Page(s).

Social Networks ?

If you enjoy Social Networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram or whatever, remember that whatever you put there, future employers are going to see it as well. Many folks think that if you set the privacy capabilities of these sites to a strong setting, outside folks are not going to see it, but I can assure you that anything you put on a Social Media site will be visible to folks who want to see it. I’ll say it again, Facebook Page is Your New Reference !

What kind of silliness have I heard of causing folks to not get a job?

  • Having a Twitter account and “bad mouthing” former employers (or current employers), on the site. If I am going to hire you and I see that, my first thought is, “What are they going to say about our company?”.
  • Pictures of you at a party “having a good time”. As a future employer, do I start to wonder whether you are a reliable employee, or a party animal?
  • Other pictures : When did posting pictures of yourself in your underwear or less, become normal? An employer sees that and says (out loud), “Indiscrete employees, if they post this, why should I trust them to keep any company secrets”. Remember if you are “tagged” in a Facebook picture, even if it is not yours, you are in trouble.
Simple reputation explanation

These are just a couple of the interesting ways you can thwart your job applications.

What do I do ?

How do I find out what others can find out about me?

  • Google your name and see what others can see (without even looking very hard).
  • Comb through your social media sites and see what is there (and look with a future employers point of view)

If you have some bad stuff out there, get rid of it as best you can. If you are lucky they don’t know about Internet Archives and are lazy.

Remember, Social Media is Your New Reference.


  • Emmah Williams January 5, 2019, 1:29 PM

    social media can really be a good boost when looking for a job.This guide really helps when it comes to making a good profile that your employer can have a look at.One just needs to avoid the mistakes mentioned and all will be good.Be the best you can be!

  • Erin April 20, 2012, 1:56 PM

    I think posting something online and expecting it to be “private” is kind of a silly concept. Of course it won’t be private, you just posted it on the “world wide web”!

    Thank goodness I don’t get up to very much mischief, online or otherwise. If any future employer checks out my Facebook, at worst they’ll think I’m just too boring for the job!

  • eemusings April 17, 2012, 6:08 AM

    I Google myself pretty often (does it sound less narcissistic if I mention I work in media?)

    Honestly, people simply need to assume everything they put out online is totally public. There should be no need in this day and age, years after social media hit the big time, to remind anyone of this.

    • bigcajunman April 17, 2012, 6:51 AM

      We shouldn’t have to, yet I still find excellent examples every day, of how NOT to do things on line.


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