There are plenty of reasons to exercise caution when posting content online, but more attention needs to be paid to the potential impact on employability, a new report suggests.
According to research conducted by cybersecurity company Kaspersky, a third of job seekers say social posts have harmed their employment prospects, a figure that rises to 47% among younger people applying for entry-level positions.
The survey also revealed that more than a third (38%) believe that the likelihood of receiving a job offer would fall if a potential employer had access to their posts, while 40% said they have previously looked up a new colleague on social media.
When social media platforms were first established in the mid-2000s, the novelty factor was enough to blind almost all of us to the dangers these kinds of services can present, from a reputational, addiction and data privacy standpoint.
Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many people have become more cautious about the social media content they interact with (particularly personality quizzes and the like) for privacy reasons, and awareness about the effects of screen time has encouraged some to establish healthier relationships with their devices. However, the same sense of caution does not necessarily extend to the content people choose to post online.
The report asserts that many people later come to regret the material they post on web platforms, with 45% of respondents saying they regret using social media as much as they did when they were younger.
Meanwhile, 42% of people say their social media profiles are not representative of their authentic selves, despite them becoming the most readily available resource for recruiters looking to learn more about a potential new hire.
However, on the other side of the coin, social platforms like LinkedIn have proven to be an invaluable resource for job hunters over the years. According to Kaspersky, 73% of millennials found their last position directly through a social media platform.
The question then becomes: how do we capture the benefits of social platforms, without exposing ourselves to the dangers? According to Tony Neate, CEO at advice portal Get Safe Online, people could benefit significantly by making a concerted effort to pause before firing off a post.
“Social networking has been – and is still – one of the revolutions of the online age. When used correctly, it is an excellent way of keeping in touch with friends and family, sharing information and advertising and finding new work,” said Tony Neate, CEO at advice portal Get Safe Online.
“Our advice is simple. Enjoy the benefits of social media, but periodically take a step back and remind yourself why it’s important to think before you post. Use this time to edit and even delete recent posts that might position you detrimentally, minimising the risk of current and future employers seeing you in a negative light.”
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