Finding the right job for you can be hard in today’s job market. So once you have found the right job you need to make sure that you are doing everything you can to make yourself stand out, in the right way, but is your social media profile stopping you getting that job?

I was talking to a friend about a month ago about ways to do this. To give you some background this friend of mine, let’s call her Lucy, was made redundant from her previous company and thought that she wouldn’t have a problem finding a new position in her industry. She is well educated, affable and has experience in the field of work that she was looking at.

However after 2 months and countless applications she was getting nowhere. Over dinner she told me that it was really starting to affect her and her confidence. She felt like she was doing all the right things. She was doing her research before each application, tailoring her CV and covering letter to match the job role and applying for jobs that were at the same level as her last job so she wasn’t trying to overreach but wasn’t getting any interviews.

After reading her CV I couldn’t find any fault with it, so I suggested we look at her online presence. These days everyone has some sort of online presence and with a quick Google of someones name you can find out a lot about someone, and this includes prospective employers.

Now Lucy is quite an enthusiastic user of social media, mainly facebook and twitter. When we searched her name up popped her profiles for both accounts right at the top of Google. Clicking on the first result took us to her Facebook profile and we were presented with a picture of her on a night out, a beer in one hand and the other hand sticking her finger up at the camera. To be fair she didn’t look drunk, but she didn’t look professional. Added to that the other photos of her that were public were other photos of other nights out with friends.

We then clicked on the second search term, twitter. Again this had the same photo but this time it also displayed her tweets over the last few days. Some of which included funny but colourful language.

I know this is painting quite a bad picture of Lucy, and that’s the point! She really is a lovely person and would be a real asset to whoever employs her, but all a perspective employer has to go on are the CV they are given and any information they can find, which includes social media.

That night we cleaned up her profiles, adjusted her privacy settings and after a promise to behave online she went home.

This case study really illustrates why social media can be a double edged sword, it’s great for keeping in contact with friends and finding people who share common interests but you are also putting yourself on display to the rest of the world.

What is the lesson from this? Never forget that if something is online it is not only visible to friends but the whole world. Personally I use the grandmother test. Everytime I make something public online i ask myself, “would my Nan want to see this?” if the answer is no I either don’t post it or it goes somewhere where only people I want to see it can.

And what about Lucy? A few weeks later got a call from her to tell me that she had just had a really good interview and then got the job a couple of days later!