By @TheMarkDalton

We’ve all heard the story about Justine Sacco, the senior corporate communications director who posted a poorly thought out tweet, turned her phone off and boarded a plane to South Africa. The following day, she was sacked for the “hateful statements” she had posted on Twitter. 

Social media horror stories of the magnitude of Sacco’s are relatively rare, but employees’ digital footprints are becoming increasingly important to employers.

A new study reports that 64% of employers will check out your social media presence before making a decision to hire you.

So what are the rules of managing your online image?

“It’s common sense for anyone who is job seeking to censor what they put up on those sites… if you are in any way hesitant about it, do not put it up,” said Sean Earley, Digital Creative Director at New/Slang, on RTÉ Radio 1 this morning.

Equally, he warns against employers assuming too much about a candidate based on their social media habits. “I follow Donald Trump, because I find it really interesting; the stuff that he says and the reaction he gets from people,” said Sean. But, he clarified, “I’m not a fan. I wouldn’t necessarily think that whoever people are following should be called into question.”

In terms of building a professional profile on platforms such as Linked In, Louise Campbell, Managing Director of Robert Walters Recruitment, says it is a very worthwhile exercise for job hunters.  “A lot of employers will screen candidates through it,” she told Today with Sean O’Rourke today. “It’s a construct and you’re putting it out there. It’s exactly like a CV… it’s what you want people to see.”

Listen to the full interview here: (credit: Today with Sean O’Rourke)

It should come of no surprise to us by now, employers audit potential new staff using social media. We say we are concerned about out data and in the same breath many of us willingly provide personal data about our lives online that anyone can find.

Social media has created a digital footprint for all of use who sign up and use these platforms on a regular basis. What goes online stays online and you can go viral for all the wrong reasons.

As always, think before you post. You need to decide where you want to draw the line but everyone should keep in mind that employers, both potential and current employers are watching what we do and how we use social media.

Being behind a keyboard does not make you automatically “safe” so think before you put it out there because once it goes online you can’t take it back even if you hit the delete button.

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