A recent survey of roughly 5,000 employers, managers and HR personnel found that 43 per cent of employers conduct background checks using social media accounts when filling a vacancy.

This is but one survey of many that confirms the same thing – that employers are now vetting potential employees by carrying out quick online background checks.

Although there is much noise around this practice in the media, there are very few organisations offering advice on this or solutions from a candidate’s point of view – and we think that has to change.

Can your social footprint actually damage your career prospects?

As many social accounts are now nearly a decade old, this means people in their twenties can still be affected by posts they wrote when they were in school.

Of course, it would be unfair to judge someone on something they wrote in their teens, but there is no telling whether employers will consider or even notice the age of posts – despite it being far more likely that they will discover fresher, more recent content.

Out of those surveyed in the above, 51 per cent of employers stated that they had discovered content that had put them off employing a person, purely based on what they had found online.

For students, this issue might be especially disconcerting as 46 per cent of employers were put off by the posting of inappropriate photographs, and another 41 per cent were put off by information relating to drinking and/or drug use.

But what about those already in work?

A social media footprint, although more delicate during periods of job hunting, might also have some effect on a person with a long established job.

Aside from news around social media and employment, there is also a rising number of cases involving dismissals due to information posted online.

Although the best advice is not to bring work matters online, a growing number of employers are checking staff social accounts for negative posts related to business. Some are finding what they are looking for.

Nancy Flynn of the Epolicy Institute argues that companies should be able to protect themselves and that, “strict monitoring allows employers to spot potential problems early, get the information offline as quickly as possible and discipline the employees involved.”

By being able to see what turns up online and just how much information is exposed, you can take action and blanket your accounts as necessary. There’s no need for disciplinary action to ever take place.

Check yourself via the Social Profile Checking Tool now, and keep your past from affecting your future.