Career Tip: The 5 Social Media Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Job

Working From Home, Freelancers and Job Seekers: The Social Media Mistakes That You May Be Making

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Social Media is now so woven into our lives so it's very important to be mindful of what we share online. These are the mistakes that you should avoid making at all cost. 

1 Complaining about your job

You probably heard too many horror stories of employees who got fired for bad-mouthing their bosses on social media. Tempting and satisfying as it might be to take a dig at your annoying employer, never, ever, vent anger and frustrations about your work, colleagues and boss online. Keep in mind that nothing is really private on social media and that these posts can easily backfire on you. Anything you post can go public in no time by just anyone “liking” retweeting, tagging or sharing it. Remember that these seemingly petty social media rants can raise a red-flag with your current and prospective employers. Even complaining how bored you are at work can damage your professional image and hurt job prospects.


2 Posting wild party pictures

While it is debatable if it is indeed unfair how private behaviour unrelated to work can sabotage job prospects, it’s no secret that employers do scour social media to find information about you. It is completely okay to post fun, read: tasteful (aka G-rated) photos of your night-out with friends but keep in mind that excessive feeds like these can easily label you as the party animal job candidate. Your online photos could affect how employers determine if you are the right kind of person to represent the company as your character can be judged by your photos’ appropriateness. Even if it is “all in good fun”, trust me, your photo lying on the curb drunk does not represent you in the best way possible.


3 Making typos and grammar errors

It may seem convenient to use texting language on social media but you are really better off with spelling everything out! A 2014 survey conducted by Jobvite reveals that 66 percent of recruiters are turned off by grammar and spelling errors on social media. It may appear harmless but these errors communicate a degree of sloppiness and employers believe that this can translate to your job output. Mind the grammar, spelling and punctuations as these things tie into your ability to communicate effectively and professionally at work.


4 Not Googling yourself

Have you googled yourself lately? Reports claim that up to 85 percent of recruiters “Google” candidates to learn more about them. Go ahead and try it now. Put your name in quotations and hit search, for example, “Sheryl Oben”. Be sure to take a critical look at the results and take advantage of the fact that you can see and actively optimise what employers are viewing. This is what many aptly call “Defensive Googling”. You may notice that the top results are your social media pages (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+ ) so make sure that your online profiles give you a chance to shine for employers.


! What if you found unflattering content linked to you?

Fortunately, with a little work, you can have some control and push negative information down. The trick is to produce new positive and relevant content associated with your name at a high volume to push back negative ones farther to the search results. Popular approaches in cleaning up your online image include building your website and/or portfolio with your name included in the domain; guest posting for relevant sites and joining professional groups online.


5 Not managing your personal and professional social media properly

It is very apparent how social media blurs the line between what’s personal and what’s professional. In most cases, it is always better and safer to keep personal and professional separate. Keep in mind however that adding positive tidbits of your personal life can be beneficial for your online reputation as it humanises you and gives a better sense of who the person is behind the words on the computer screen. With this point in mind, you have to ask yourself two important questions: 1) What areas in your professional and personal profiles do you want to intersect? 2) How do you want to be perceived overall online? By knowing the answers to these, you can begin to take the steps to manage your social media persona more effectively.