Can your social media profile damage your career prospects?

We live in a world where every individual and company need a social media presence to thrive and even survive in an extremely competitive market. However can this social media presence lead to a professional’s downfall?

Prospective employers check your profile

A candidate’s virtual presence now plays a big part in the recruitment process for organisations, with recent studies showing that 80% of employers will check a candidates profile before inviting them in to interview. This doesn’t mean that companies can break the Equality Act of 2010 by discriminating against a candidate. However it can mean that companies or Hiring Managers may be affected by any offensive posts on a prospective candidate’s Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn etc. This being said, social media, managed correctly, is still a vital tool for any professional looking to network within their chosen industry.

So how should an applicant/ professional manage their social media profile?

Privacy settings

Just because a prospective employer will look at your social media profile, this doesn’t mean that you can’t post anything, it’s just recommended that you know who’s able to access the content you put out.

Managing privacy settings is particularly applicable to candidates who are beginning their careers (school leavers, graduates etc.) as they often don’t have a vast amount of employment experience to go on and tend to be more active on social media platforms.

One really basic step that the Robertson Sumner team would recommend is ensure that your content can only be seen by friends and connections and be extremely careful who you connect with.

Profile cleansing

It is also recommended that you should cleanse your social media profiles every now and then… We have all tweeted something 4 years ago that we may now regret, have a 7 year old picture on your Facebook profile, or jobs on your LinkedIn profile which simply aren’t relevant. If this is the case, then delete it!

Profile pictures

Whatever your privacy settings, your profile picture is often the first thing anyone sees when having a snoop of your profile and often comes up if anyone was to Google your name. So make sure it doesn’t lead to a bad first impression!

A Facebook or Twitter image doesn’t need to be ridiculously professional however try to avoid that picture of you ‰’smashed at your best friend’s stag do’. For a LinkedIn picture, keep this as professional as possible, avoiding; a works night out photo, blurry picture or that shot of you from your prom 7 years ago… keep it up to date!

Be careful what you post!

Finally, even after following all of these steps, it’s still important to be careful what you post on any form of social media – keep some things to yourself! For example any political opinions, private information about work (i.e. pay rise, offered a new job, confidential company information) or anything you wouldn’t want your boss to know – don’t publish!


To summarise, it’s recommended that anyone looking to develop their career and network should be active on social media, especially LinkedIn; however it is just as important that you think before you post and know exactly who is able to access your content!

Recent Posts