Can you tweet yourself out of a job?
With 71% of us viewing social media as a platform for our political voices, our profiles are reading like our own personal manifestos. But have we ever stopped to think how these posts could make us look in the eyes of future employers? Nope, us neither.
The truth is, recruiters do their social-media research, with 92% investigating potential candidates online, and more than two-thirds rejecting them because of something they’ve posted (gulp). To avoid those #careerfails, we asked four employers for their votes on getting political online.
Post with passion
says Sara Hawthorn, founder and managing director of InFusion, a PR company dealing with renewable energy
“If you’re posting about politics or current affairs, it shows you’re concerned about issues affecting the world. I see this awareness and enthusiasm as potentially useful to my business – but it’s the posts with passion behind them, rather than just ‘I don’t agree with this legislation’, that really catch my eye. I recently recruited a woman via Twitter after she wrote about returning to work after having a baby. She shared strong opinions on her feed, but I admired her zeal, and that’s what she’s brought to the business. It’s your choice if you want to share your views on something you care about, but if you do, make sure it’s your opinion, rather than simply what’s trending. It makes you seem more genuine.”
Fight your comment corner
says Anna Frankowska, CEO of Nightset party app and one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, 2017
“I’d never penalise a potential employee for their political engagement – even if I didn’t agree with their views, it’s no reason to judge their professionalism. In fact, we should be encouraged to be politically vocal – sharing our opinions and discussing them means we can become more open-minded. If I scroll through an applicant’s Facebook and see them standing up for their views, it shows me that they’re strong-willed. My advice, though? Avoid sharing other users’ posts too often. Show originality with your own material. And don’t just call a politician you disagree with a ‘c-u-next-Tuesday’. Smart, funny posts have way more impact – check out @Number10cat, @PoliticalAP and @50ShadesOfTory to see how it’s done.”
Take ten before sharing
says Rhiannon Cambrook-Woods, managing director at Zest Recruitment & Consultancy legal specialists
“Most people can write a good CV, but we want to get an idea of what the individual is like outside of the workplace. So we check out their Facebook, as users tend to be more professional on Twitter. Most employers are looking for someone who will challenge them and offer new perspectives, so if an applicant shares their political views on social, it’s a good indication to me that they can bring new perspectives to the table. But keep your cool – wait ten minutes to think before putting a post live, even if you consider it light-hearted. Many political statuses posted in the heat of the moment have put me off, particularly if they suggest violence or aggression. Ask yourself, ‘Could this be viewed negatively?’ or, the fail-safe, ‘Would my mum approve?’”
Sell yourself, not your politics
says Anne Messer, managing director at Bespoke Training Services for healthcare professionals
“As an employer, I don’t want to be confronted with political opinions. In fact, I wouldn’t employ anyone who was so vocal about their beliefs that they didn’t seem to care whom they may offend. I’ve seen many posts that are rude about those who support a certain political party, and it’s not a trait I look for in an employee. However, as social media is eroding the line between personal and professional, I do think it can be a useful tool for building industry contacts. If you get dragged into a political debate, the most important rule is to keep it polite. Think, ‘I respect your opinion but, as a rule, I don’t discuss such sensitive topics on the internet.’ And don’t forget to use Facebook’s ‘friends only’ privacy setting to really keep work and politics separate.”
Political posting IRL
It can lead to a job or dismissal – as these readers found out…
- Elinor, 30
“While working for a digital agency, I posted on Facebook about being kinder to single mothers on benefits (which a client disagreed with). A month later they made redundancies and I was out. I’m freelance now because I want to keep my right to a political opinion.”
- Andrea, 33
“During an interview, my employer said how impressed she was by my engagement with certain political issues, such as women’s rights, on Twitter. As long as you aren’t using hateful language, nothing should be off-limits – it’s what got me the job.”
- Rae, 31
“I work for a museum and recently retweeted a few Donald Trump jokes that, in hindsight, were a bit NSFW. My boss emailed me the next day asking me to ‘tone it down’. Now, I keep my political thoughts to my private Facebook page.”
- Tanya, 26
“I was doing shifts at a public service organisation around the time of the Brexit vote, and a company-wide email was sent out warning us to keep neutral on social media. We were all flapping around the office hastily deleting posts that day – I even had to tell friends to avoid tagging me in anything remotely political in case my manager spotted it.”
Taken from GLAMOUR UK. Click here to read the original.