A client of mine once asked me to help find a new writer to work under me.
We opted for an ad on ProBlogger Jobs (which is an awesome place to find freelance writing gigs) before waiting for the applications flood in.
To my surprise, the very first application we received seemed like an excellent fit for the role. The applicant came across as professional, had lots of experience, and wrote about the required topic with confidence.
But there was a big problem — their Facebook profile.
Upon further investigation, we found that the candidate’s level of professionalism was shallow, to say the least.
Because the applicant had a publicly visible Facebook profile, we were able to browse through an array of unflattering party pictures, as well as vulgar Facebook status updates. It wasn’t a good look.
Furthermore, the candidate presented themselves to us as a marketing enthusiast, and was yet happily flaunting a very unprofessional private life via Facebook, ignoring the privacy feature of the platform in the process. That alone didn’t make much sense to us.
We quickly agreed that the candidate wasn’t fit to represent the brand, despite their impressive writing skills.
Harsh? Maybe. Fair? Definitely.
You Will Be Stalked
If you think clients won’t do their research on you before saying, “You’re Hired!”, think again.
Your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest (even MySpace, people) will all be screened by serious clients. If you have any presence on any social media platform, your client will look, and your client will see.
After all, they want somebody upright representing their brand, so if you have your social media profiles on show, they have every right to check it out.
If you only tweet about how awesome Starbucks is, and your most unprofessional Facebook picture is you without your tie — you’re in the clear (although I always recommend hiding personal accounts away from the public eye).
We all need to understand that large websites and blogs are no longer just websites and blogs. They’re brands.
That means they have a reputation to uphold, and a large audience that won’t hesitate to Google your name to find out more about you and your work.
Blogging may have its casual side, but your personal brand should be nothing but professional. If it isn’t, you shouldn’t complain when those potential clients ignore your emails.