7 Telling Signs That Your Online Presence is Hindering Your Career Development


Social media is a part of daily life for over four billion people, so there’s a good chance you’re included in those numbers. In addition to your social media presence, you likely have an online presence in other places, especially if you’re a published researcher. How you handle that presence can determine the future of your career, so you should monitor and approach it strategically.

Statistics show that in today’s society, the majority of employers review a candidate’s social media profile and online presence before they decide to hire them. Yes, your resume and cover letter are important, but often, the final deciding factor comes down to whether you look like a responsible person who would make a solid addition to the university or institution. 

Between a simple Google search and a glance at your social networking sites, plus the discussion forums and review platforms, you exist somewhere online. Is your online footprint hindering or helping your career development? Watch for these 7 telling signs before you make another post or go for a job interview. 

7 Signs to Check Out in Your Digital World

The practice of “checking up on” a potential employee is one that is hotly debated. Some people see this as in infringement of their private lives into the professional sector, while others, particularly those in academics, see your private life as a reflection on your work role.

Whether you agree with employers running this sort of informal online background check or not, the reality is that it’s likely to happen. You’re in the world of education and research, and many institutions utilize this practice as a method gauging the worthiness of both students and faculty members.

As long as you’re not doing anything extreme, this shouldn’t be a problem. Hiring bodies understand that you’re a human. You’ll be photographed having the occasional drink at a restaurant or event. You might have some affectionate behaviors caught on film and shared with your friends, or someone might tag you in an inappropriate post that you never untagged yourself from.

It happens. However, there are some other common practices that could very reasonably keep you from furthering your career. Do a Google search on yourself and review your social media profile (even if you think it’s private). Watch for these career-hindering mistakes:

  1.  Your non-professional sites are public, and they’re full of you at your less than finest moments. It’s okay to go to a party, it’s another thing entirely to be seen as a partier when you’re supposed to be teaching older students how to be responsible adults.
  2. The content you post is clearly shared when you’re supposed to be in charge of a classroom. Your current administration is probably monitoring your feed to a surface degree. It’s extremely simple for a colleague or other faculty member to see your regular posts during classroom hours and mention it to another person. Then, the game of telephone begins, as it often does in school settings. Before you know it, you’re explaining to the dean or other administration why the “no phones for personal use in class” policy doesn’t apply to you, the instructor.
  3. Most of your online presence is full of negativity: complaints on your social media feed about your colleagues, supervisors, grocery store employees, restaurants servers, etc., or negative feedback and comments about you as a person, instructor, or researcher.
  4. You have accusations of plagiarizing, or there is evidence that you’ve plagiarized content in your work.
  5. Your online presence connects you with a lot of less-than-desirable traits for a scholarly profession, such as inappropriate spelling and grammar, excessive coarse or vulgar language, frequent alcohol use, drug use, exclusive language (stereotyping, discriminatory content or comments), connection to groups that are actively promoting violence, terrororism, etc. 
  6. You post pictures or content that are not befitting a scholarly institution.
  7. You share sensitive details of the work environment, such as a job offer and the nuances of such, or testing scores before they’re publicly released.

Any and all of these things attached to your name could be a major obstacle to furthering your career. You can’t always clean up the past, but you can move forward and avoid causing any future harm.

Boost Your Online Presence With Impactio

Whether you need a little help increasing your professional reputation or you want to network with likeminded individuals, Impactio can help. American’s largest scientific networking platform, Impactio is the “social media” site for academic experts. When your online presence pulls up your Impactio profile, potential employers are sure to be impressed!


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