It’s difficult to find a job. You could get lucky and secure the first or second position you apply for but often the process takes weeks or months. You display three versions of yourself in each application process: the resume version, the in-person interview version and the social media version. The in-person version and digital (social media) version can showcase the most drastic difference.

Some people use their social media pages (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat) like their own personal diaries. While in a delicate situation like trying to find a job or a professional situation, it is never wise to spout off about your personal problems to the masses on your social pages. We all need to vent, but why to hundreds of strangers when some of these strangers could be your potential or current employer?

Your employer or colleagues could decide you’re unfit to perform your work duties due to what you reveal on your social pages and act to slowly squeeze you out. Also, the company that you are applying for could use the personal information you revealed to the world as the reason to not hire you.

These situations are forms of social media discrimination, but there aren’t clearly-defined laws against social media discrimination. some employers scour a potential employees’ social presence to find unprofessional or unsightly information that would make you unsuitable for the position. Employers believe they can pinpoint who a potential employee is and how they would perform at a job by their activity on social media sites.

Ways to protect yourself

The first step to limiting your chances of becoming a victim of social media discrimination is to stop posting and remove sensitive and negative information about your life and relationships on your social media pages. Secondly, set your profiles to private. Each social media company provides different styles, and levels of security that are often found in your “account settings.” Also, do not accept friend invites from those you don’t know. Sometimes, interviewers or future employers or colleagues will create fake profiles to access the information you display on your social media profiles.

Social media is a way of life these days. It’s can be as beneficial as it can be hindering. Use the tools that social media provides to your advantage. Present yourself in the best light and gain the positions and advantages you deserve.