By Tyler Faust, R.N
Social media usage has grown exponentially over the past decade and is a powerful force in our world. It is estimated that there are 3.4 billion social media users today. Social media use connects people from all over the world and allows people to express and share their lives and perspectives with the world. Despite all the good that social media has brought, there are definite drawbacks to sharing parts of your life with the world. Whether looking for your first nursing job or transitioning to a new nursing job, nurses should follow these social media guidelines to ensure your social media usage isn’t hurting your chances of a new job.
Know Your Social Media Account Settings
Nurses using social media should be aware that social media platforms usually have privacy settings on them that allow users to control who can view their content and what content they can view. If you have not recently reviewed your privacy settings, double-check to see what they are. Pretend you are a random person looking to get information on you. If you Google your name or search your name on a social media platform, what will you find? You can choose to allow only certain groups of people to view your information, generally family and friends, not strangers. If your privacy settings are correctly set up, a hiring manager won’t be able to review your account and make any potential judgments about you.
Consider Taking a Stance
Nurses that have an active presence on social media platforms, consider how best to take a stance. If your profile name is basically your first and last name with some different numbers or letters, you might want to reconsider taking a strong stance on controversial topics if your profiles are public. Although you have every right to state your views, it might not come across as respectful of diversity and it might not be something hiring managers are willing to risk. There are safer ways to express your opinions and stances such as creating an anonymous profile, or one that doesn’t display who you are. Although there are places to debate politics, religion, and other hot topics, the workplace isn’t generally considered one of them, so don’t let potential hiring managers think that you might be divisive or disrespectful.
Understand the Potential Impact
Social media usage has little potential for helping you during a job transition but has a lot of potential to hurt you. A recent study revealed that roughly 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. Candidates should be aware of unattractive pictures of college parties, drug use, illegal activities, profanity, or other unprofessional behavior and should avoid negativity or heated debates. Although it might be considered normal for your lifestyle, it could be a turnoff for a hiring manager, and right or wrong, it could influence their decision to offer an interview or a job.
Play it Safe
If in doubt, it is best to play it safe. Nurses on social media should take a conservative approach to what is shared with the public. Even if it is only until you lock in a new job, consider changing your privacy settings or temporarily deactivate your account. More than half of hiring managers (57%) found inappropriate behaviors when screening candidates that lead them to not hire someone. It would be disappointing to hurt your chances of getting a new nursing job because of a careless post or not taking the time to investigate what others might learn about you through social media use.
The average turnover cost for a nurse is between $37,000 and $58,000. Given the cost and frequency of turnover, a quick screen of a potential candidate’s social media is well worth the time. Hiring managers might choose to go with a safer candidate rather than the top candidate if they feel there is too much risk involved with the top candidate after reviewing their social media accounts. No matter your stance on social media or how you use it, nurses on social media should follow these guidelines for social media usage during nursing job transitions.
About the Author
Tyler Faust is a full-time registered nurse and part-time freelance healthcare writer. He has his BSN and Master's degree and Winona State University and has worked at Mayo Clinic for over 7 years. Currently, he works as a nurse manager. Tyler is a creative thinker, strategist, and passionate about leadership.