Hello Workwell

Why That Post May Have Cost You That Job You Really Wanted

SoulHello Workwell
Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

"Most workers have some sort of online presence today– and more than half of employers won’t hire those without one." — Rosemary Haefner, Chief Human Resources Officer at CareerBuilder

You Are What You Post

You hit the 'submit' button and your resume is gone, into the digital ether. Do you really know what happens next? The technical journey of how your resume lands on a hiring manager's desk isn't that important. What is important is the single most common action every single hiring manager will take: search for you online. This action is what makes, or breaks, your chances of getting your foot in the door.

Don't believe us? A national survey of 2,600 hiring managers and recruiters conducted online on behalf of CareerBuilder by Harris Poll last year revealed just how much your online presence influences would-be-employers: more than half of employers (54 percent) have found content on social media that caused them not to hire a candidate for an open role. The authors of the study note, "Your online persona doesn't just have the potential to get you in trouble. Cultivating your presence online can also lead to reward. More than 4 in 10 employers (44 percent) have found content on a social networking site that caused them to hire the candidate. Among the primary reasons employers hired a candidate based on their social media profiles were candidate's background information supported their professional qualifications (38 percent), great communication skills (37 percent), a professional image (36 percent), and creativity (35 percent)."

Our advice? Carve out some meaningful time and get your online self together. Let's do this.


Honestly, make it private or go through, post by post, and set who can see each post. Why? Let's get real. Everyone carries biases. Maybe this person hates cats. Maybe this person dated someone with your first name and it reminds them of that time. Maybe they don’t share your political affiliation. Maybe they don’t like your [fill in the blank]. Whatever ‘it’ is, you want to put your best self forward. If Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, uses lists to share her posts, personal and professional, so should you. Read about how to set your privacy and make lists of friends and family here.


Unfortunately, Instagram is an all or nothing platform; your profile is either public or private. So, determine what your feed says about you, and make a decision. You can edit it, you can add to it or you can create a finsta account. For the non-teenager readers out there, a "finsta," a combination of the words "fake" and "Instagram" is someone's hidden, personal account. It's for maintaining content that is quite different from your real ("rinsta") account. Why? According to reporting in USA Today, Brooke Erin Duffy, an assistant professor of communication at Cornell University, said the main reason some of her students have a "finsta" account is fear of monitoring from employers. If employees are losing their jobs for tasteless social media gaffs, imagine how many people weren't even invited to interview based on what they've posted. By the way, this advice applies to Twitter and Snapchat as well.


LinkedIn is the single most important profile for getting vetted. (LinkedIn is like Google on steroids for recruiters and HR pros.) Hiring managers use your LinkedIn profile to cross-reference your resume (make sure all the dates and titles match, please!) and see your education credentials, and your profile picture will establish the first impression of who they believe you are. Head over to LinkedIn Learning and search for 'LinkedIn Profile' where you'll find information-rich videos that will walk you through the process.

Personal Blogs

This is a tough one. Many people use a blog as a branding tool. If you have a blog that's for venting or railing against the machine, we'll leave it up to you to decide your next steps.

We get it, this can feel contrived and not "authentic". But let's be really, really clear, this is not about lying about your accomplishments or about silencing your values or compromising your morals. This is about thinking critically and making purposeful decisions about how you present yourself online. You live in two worlds: your personal world and your professional world. There is the place where the two overlap -- this is the space you should focus on. Being thoughtful and intentional about how you present your professional story is powerful and something you should master and own, with pride.

Other articles we love on this topic: Your “Inspirational” Social Media Posts Are Hurting Your Career