Online Teaching Blog

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Three Things You’re Doing on Social Media to Sabotage Your Online Teaching Search

Three Things You’re Doing on Social Media to Sabotage Your Online Teaching Search

by Mary Beth Kurilko M.Ed, BA
October 20, 2016

And One Big Thing You Should Be Doing!

I’ve hired many adjuncts over the years, both in my current role as Director of Online Programs at Philadelphia University and when I was chair of the Communications department there.

I’ve seen a lot of nutty things submitted by job applicants, things that obviously disqualified them from being hired. While those bizarre behaviors are good cocktail party fodder – remind me to tell you about the candidate who removed her tights in an interview and left them in the conference room wastebasket – this piece is about more subtle actions on social media that can turn off hiring managers.

Sloppy writing

We all know (don’t we?) to keep inappropriate comments, i.e., profanity, out of social media posts, but remember that poor grammar and sentence structure send a message about our attention to detail. Colloquial language is accepted online, but educators are held to a higher standard. A good tip is to follow the advice we give students on the discussion boards: Use a professional tone, check spelling and grammar, no text-speak and stay positive. And speaking of students…

Student shaming

Believe it or not, this seems to be a common practice on social media among educators. Hiring managers use Facebook and LinkedIn groups to find adjuncts. How you behave on social media is part of your online presence and reputation – one you want to keep professional. If I see an educator criticizing a student or making a condemnation of a group, i.e, “Those entitled millennials think they deserve an A for just showing up!”, you can bet that person will drop off my candidate list. Keep your venting private.

Being tone deaf

Beyond the spelling, grammar and structure checks, it’s important that your tone is neutral, or better yet, positive. See #2 above on venting. It might feel good to blast off a few snarky lines about your job search struggles, but consider how this may be perceived by a hiring manager. Use this test: Would you make that same statement in a job interview? If not, then don’t post it online. Hiring managers want adjuncts who respect students and care about their success. Reflect that in your posts.

Okay, we know now what not to do.

What can you do to increase your chance of job search success online?

Here’s one thing that will help boost your online image: Establish yourself as an expert in your field. Success on social media is about being helpful and sharing ideas. Meaningful contributions with insights like how to engage students online, using digital tools to enhance learning and thoughtful comments on the latest news in education will increase your professional capital and build a following. A following that surely will include hiring managers.

Job searches of any kind will always be challenging, but there are ways to feel less helpless in the process. By building a professional, thoughtful and positive online presence, you’re giving hiring managers an insight to the type of instructor you’ll be – one they want!