5 Social Media Sins That Hurt Your Career Prospects (& What to Do About Them)
For both employees and job seekers alike, social media is increasingly becoming the chosen platform for posting about and monitoring potential applicants accomplishments and portfolios. Yet social media also has the power to help or hinder your career and your job search.
There are plenty of horror stories (on the Internet) about someone who has found themselves jobless after they committed a social media screw-up. Even more importantly, your online actions can have a significant impact on your career trajectory.
Recruiters are increasingly combing the Internet for information about possible future hires. According to a recent survey, 70 percent of employers (up from 11 percent in 2006) employ social media to evaluate candidates before hiring. A dubious social media presence may tip the scales in favor of an equally qualified – but more refined – candidate.
Additionally, if you are currently employed in a firm, your adverse actions online could be grounds for termination.
While every worker needs to vent sometimes, opting to share these feelings publicly can have a detrimental effect on your career. Save your complaining about your overly demanding boss or how you hate your job for personal conversations with close friends and family. Never believe that your Facebook or Twitter posts are safe from your boss, as an ambitious colleague might choose to forward it to them.
And, even if your current boss doesn’t see it, other employers may, and that could prompt them not to hire you.
If you control or create your current company’s social media, think long and hard about what you post, as whatever you write reflects on them. Most of the time, political talk is a no-no, although that obviously depends on your niche. While some mistakes might be innocent, posting anything too inappropriate is a quick route to disaster for your career and the company’s branding.
You don’t want to be sharing, tweeting, or Snapchatting while you are supposed to be working. Not only can this land you with a warning or a meeting with your boss, but it also reflects negatively on your work ethic when you are looking for a job change. Getting caught up in the online world and ignoring your work is a surefire way of getting in trouble as it makes you a lot less productive.
No matter who you are, the photos that you publicly share on social media represent the curated version of yourself that you are choosing to show the world. While it can seem harmless to share your wild weekend with your friends, you don’t want a potential employer or recruiter to have that as their first impression of you.
Remember, privacy settings can only do so much so if you absolutely have to post something, pick one that is the least controversial and never show illegal activities or substances.
Just because you have a job offer does not necessarily mean that it’s a sure thing. Most job offers are to be treated as confidential; therefore, by breaking that confidentiality, your prospective employer can revoke the job offer.
While it may seem obvious, don’t ever write anything negative about your job offer either. You don’t want to be fired before you even get to work!
On the contrary, there are ways that you, as a job candidate or an employee, can utilize social media in a way that casts you in a positive, professional light. Here’s how you can impress recruiters with your online presence.
- Use social media to show your knowledge by publishing articles on your Linkedin profile or uploading examples of written or design work that you have previously created. Social media is a great place to showcase your work.
- Build professional networks and show confidence. Connect with relevant contacts and share related posts and articles.
- Consider your digital footprint and Google yourself. There is nothing stopping a possible employer from searching your name and investigating your online activity; for this reason, it would be beneficial for you to frequently monitor what your digital footprints look like.
- If you want to show what you do in your spare time, then your engagement in volunteering, mentoring or other nonprofits should be at the top of the list.
If you aren’t sure if something is appropriate for social media, then err on the side of caution and don’t post it. Always exercise good judgement.
An excellent strategy to ensure this is by asking yourself how you would feel if your grandmother saw the post. If you wouldn’t want her to see it, then it probably shouldn’t be published. Remember that what goes on the Internet, forever stays on the Internet — somewhere.
A recruitment professional with over twenty years’ experience in the field and a record of entrepreneurial accomplishment, David is Managing Director and Head of HR at Mackenzie Jones.
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