Are You Tweeting Yourself Out Of A New Job?

By Amy @BubbleJobs

It’s no secret that it’s possible to talk your way out of a new job during the crucial interview or feedback stages (just look at pretty much any episode of The Apprentice!) but we’ve got proof that it’s possible to talk your way out of a new position before you even reach that point!

Now, we know this isn’t exactly ‘new’ news – we’ve covered how poor cover letters and CVs can effectively take you out of the running for a new job time and time again on this blog – but we’re not talking about them today – as you’ve guessed from the title of this blog, we’re talking about Twitter.

OK, so we already know that your social media profiles and your online presence are pretty important these days (Anna’s written some great blogs like this one on the topic) and we know that you could get the sack if you decide to vent your frustrations about your current position or boss on a public platform like Facebook – but did you know your tweets could potentially land you in hot water when applying for a new position?

And it’s not just limited to paid jobs – we spotted a story last week which proves that your chances of securing an internship or work experience position could also be seriously hampered if you’ve got a tendency for tweeting before thinking. According to a story on the Huffington Post UK, a high school pupil was turned down for work experience at his local MP’s office after the MP spotted a pretty silly mistake on the pupil’s Twitter feed.

“Don’t this f***ing school realise I don’t want to do work experience.”

The offending tweet in question caused the MP to reply to the pupil with the following comments.

“I’m sorry but I am turning down your request because although your letter and CV were acceptable, your attitude to your school and life in general on Twitter is inappropriate. Please be aware that your entries on social media reflect on you, and that potential employers do take them into account when considering your interest. Responsibility does matter. I encourage you to take a different approach over the next year.”


OK, so there’s no denying the tweet was pretty stupid but I’m fairly convinced the pupil in question never thought the MP or anyone from his school would ever see it in a million years. And that’s the problem – we get so wrapped up in our world of Twitter followers and people we’re following that we never really take into account whose gaze our tweets may fall under at some point or another.

But we need to be more careful – a 2011 study suggested that 70% of employers had dismissed a potential candidate because of something they’d seen on a social networking site like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. The reasons?

– 13% dismissed a candidate because they’d lied about their qualifications

– 11% rejected candidates because they’d posted inappropriate content (namely photos)

– 11% rejected candidates for posting negative comments about their previous employer

Ouch! See – tweets and Facebook posts really DO matter these days. So what should you do to ensure your social media profiles don’t let you down?

Firstly, THINK before you post. Now, I know this one’s hard to do, particularly if someone’s really wound you up, but please, just take a few minutes to think carefully about the post you’re about to make or the tweet you’re about to send – ask yourself if you’d be happy if everyone you know saw it. If not, maybe think twice! Alternatively, write your post or tweet but don’t send it – wait an hour and if you still feel the same way, go ahead and send it but if not, it’s time to find the ‘delete’ button.

Next, check your privacy settings. Making your tweets or Facebook profile private is fairly easy to do but it could mean the difference between a successful career and one that falls short… definitely something to consider.

Last but not least, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of privatising your settings, look into online service like scrambls which effectively allow you to decide who your content gets shared with – think Google+ Circles but across all the major social networks! Tools like this effectively allow you to keep ‘inside’ jokes to your group of friends and keep particular tweets or posts private to your immediate network.

Have you been caught out by Twitter or any other social network when applying for a new job? We want to hear your thoughts…!

Comments 1

  1. This is so true. People think little of the consequences of their actions online in many circumstances. And the stats about refusing applicants will only increase as more people, and indeed businesses, have an online presence.

    Good stuff Amy. Although me being on a jobs website whilst at work might not go down too…

    oh….I think I’ve just been fired. 😉

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *