Your personal social media
Social media has revolutionized the way people connect with one another. It’s a powerful tool for keeping in touch with friends, family, and colleagues.
Facebook, in particular, has been an important means of staying connected with friends and family in one’s home country for teachers living abroad, since 2004. It has also allowed educators to keep in touch with fellow teachers even after moving on to other places, keeping their lives linked virtually.
It can also be a source of inspiration, sharing ideas, and best practices. Social media also comes with risks, especially when it comes to professional boundaries. Not only do you share your thoughts, photos, and special events with your friends, but you also share them with the whole world (potentially).
In today’s world, employers routinely use social media as a tool to screen candidates, and teachers are no exception. It’s essential to be mindful of the online persona that you project, as it can impact your future job prospects.
What do employers look for?
In recent years it has become common practice for employers to track your social media. While we haven’t actually asked international schools themselves, it is commonly accepted that they review a candidate’s internet footprint as soon as they have identified their interest in a candidate. This is a potential risk area for a school, and it is in their best interest to withhold a job offer if anything indicates a red flag.
The recommended recruitment and screening practices compiled by the International Taskforce on Child Protection direct schools to conduct internet checks as a precondition of employment (subject to legal counsel).
Reviewing social media is one component of the review. Schools need to know if a candidate’s values and character align with theirs. Recruiters study the type of posts you make on social media and the language you use. They want to get to know the values you display and the maturity and judgment you show publically.
Steps you can take to present yourself professionally
- Google yourself to see what comes up. You may be surprised at what you find!
- Get a friend of a friend to look you up online and see what they find. Sometimes different computers and search engines show different results.
- Check if you’re in content posted by others and if it looks dodgy, ask them to remove it or un-tag you.
- Tighten your privacy settings so that potential employers can’t see your social media.
- Delete risky accounts for good measure.
Regardless of how you feel about employers using social media as a screening tool, the reality is that it happens. Take steps to protect yourself and your future job opportunities by presenting a professional image online. Social media can be a powerful tool in your job search, but it can also work against you if you’re not careful.