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Don’t use your time off to render yourself unemployable in the future

Dive In
  • Writer's picturePeter Harris

Are you and your friends keeping each other company on social media?

I love my network. We’ve all been sharing such entertaining content as isolation and quarantine memes, binge-watching suggestions, the challenges of homeschooling the kids, the eternal dilemma of whether or not to shower or wear pants, and the wonders of day drinking. It’s funny. It passes the time.

The trouble is, there’s a chance we could be voluntarily diminishing the professional online profiles we’ve spent years building up. Your online presence makes up a large part of your personal brand – particularly that all-important first impression that people – potential employers, for example – will form of you.

According to a recent survey, nearly all – 90 percent – of employers find social media important when they evaluate candidates. Furthermore, nearly 80 percent of HR professionals say that they have turned down a job applicant because of inappropriate content on social media. They all – 98 percent of employers surveyed – conduct background research about candidates online to find out more about them than is listed in a resume.

Day drinking, binge-watching, and abandoning grooming are funny, and relatable because so many of us are locked down in quarantine. In fact, social distancing is actually the responsible thing to do right now.

So, none of this is really inappropriate at all.

Except, think about that first impression when the economy picks up and you’re applying for jobs. Do you want the first thing a hiring manager might see to be your lack of personal hygiene, weeks of excessive drinking, and general lack of ambition or initiative?

(While, of course, you could use this time to learn new skills and stay productive at home.)

But, if you’re in lockdown, socially distancing at home waiting for work to start up again, you have to do what you need to do to get by. Fill the time. Have as much fun as you can. This is an unprecedented crisis situation. We’re not judging. Shaving is overrated.

If you’re looking for new jobs at the end of this, check your online privacy settings, and consider cleaning up your profiles. Future employers may actually be judging how you come across online.

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