Avid users of technology will be well-aware that there are a multitude of apps and computer programs that aim to make our lives simpler and allow us to use social media in our job search.
For a job-seeker being able to use social media has huge potential to help connect with employers and to establish a personal brand. There are risks however and even the tech-savviest job seekers make the mistake of mixing up their personal and professional social media profiles. Job-hunters will often put links to their facebook pages or twitter feeds in their email signature. The problem is that there is a common misconception that employers will only look at the information that we want them to see. For example while we might use a blog to host an expanded version of our resume,the same blog might be used to share personal views or opinions that employers may use to form a potentially negative impression. To further complicate the issue it’s not good enough to worry about current social media use – even long forgotten posts and tweets can come back to haunt a job seeker.
In an age where there is an app for everything there is an app designed for this very issue as well. “Clear” is an aptly-named app designed to run on ipads and iphones. It can connect to a users Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to search for posts which might be considered by a potential employer to be inappropriate. Once an offending item is identified the user has the opportunity to banish the offensive info into the ether.
This app has great potential ! Don’t use it !
The designer of “Clear”, Ethan Czahor admits it’s a work in progress and the algorithm that is used to identify questionable social media content is not foolproof. The risk is, of course that the app may miss something it should tag as a potential problem and the oblivious job seeker may never realize it. Czahor is well aware of the pitfalls of social media having lost a political job this year due to some offensive tweets so his experience can serve as yet another cautionary tale.
The safest way to handle this issue is to never post anything on social media that you wold never want a future boss to see. If that’s not possible job-hunters need to lock down their Facebook, Twitter and other accounts so that people need to be invited to view the content. The major social media platforms all offer helpful information on how to implement this feature. Once that is done a job-seeker can create additional new accounts on social media to be used to build their personal brand.
Using “Clear” to scrub our social media accounts is better than doing nothing I suppose but some things are too crucial to be left to our smartphones – and no amount of hand-wringing is ever going to change that.