Should You Give a Potential Employer Your Social Media Passwords?

Managing Social Media for Job Searches

As businesses of all sizes become more active on the different social media venues, the boundaries between personal and work-related use are occasionally blurred. It’s not at all uncommon for potential employers to want to see a job candidate’s social media profiles. After all, the reputation a person has built for him or herself through social media can have a direct impact on the company they work for.

But, what’s even more surprising to some job candidates is the fact that some potential employers ask for the passwords to an applicant’s social media accounts.

Job seekers who’ve never heard of this practice might understandably feel that it’s an invasion of privacy. But, again, personal and professional social media activity can come back to benefit or hinder the company a person works for.

Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of allowing a potential employer to take an inside look at social media accounts, as well as steps job seekers can take to make social media participation work in their favor.

Pros and Cons of Allowing Access to Social Media Accounts


  • In-Depth Professional Profile. Social media account profiles can serve as an online resume, offering more in-depth information than one can possibly fit on a one- to two-page resume.
  • Demonstration of Professional Connections. Connectivity to other professionals is important and conveys experience and authority in one’s field.
  • Verification of Reputation. The content and connections found in various social media accounts will verify a solid, professional reputation or make it clear that a candidate’s reputation is sketchy.


  • Access to Past Foibles. Mistakes made years earlier can be discovered through access to a job seeker’s personal social media accounts.
  • Reputation Damage. Forgotten posts and images from the past can result in professional reputation damage.
  • Peek into Private Life. A potential employer’s access into personal social media accounts can feel like a gross invasion of privacy.

Social Media Accounts: Get Them Ready for Professional Viewing

  • Account Cleanup. Go through social media accounts with a fine-tooth comb. There are companies that can help an individual learn how to remove personal information from the internet, if the person wants to go that route.
  • Make Key Connections. Connect with other professionals in the same field, especially those who are well-established and have an excellent reputation.
  • Build Reputation in the Field. Post professionally on a consistent basis and build thorough, professional profiles to establish and build a solid reputation.

Does the Separation Between Personal and Professional Still Exist?

The development and increased use of social media in an individual’s personal and professional life makes it feel as if the line between the two is almost nonexistent. In a way, this is true, and the need to be increasingly vigilant with one’s online reputation is more important than ever. In fact, even offline activity can come back to hurt a person if unprofessional behavior is discussed or documented online by someone else.

Anyone wanting to advance in their career should use social media with that in mind. This doesn’t mean that personal accounts shouldn’t exist. But it does mean that extra caution and care in what’s said or what images are posted can prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Social media accounts that are kept free of detrimental posts and photos can’t come back to harm a job seeker years down the line.

Do you feel that giving passwords is going too far?

Photo credit.

Mary Ylisela

Mary Ylisela is a veteran writer and motivational business coach who often writes about social media marketing. Ylisela coaches clients who want to move up the corporate ladder like Gary Crittenden, to use social media to enhance their searches. She can be contacted through LinkedIn or at


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