Love it or hate it, social media is a powerful Internet tool that is here to stay. However, some people still fail to realize the power that it holds. Regardless of which platforms you are using, be it Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or any other, it’s always a good reminder that your social media accounts are an extension of who you are. Hence, how can social media ruin your career?
As the world drives into a digital transformation, social media platforms are no longer used only to communicate to family and friends. It is also a place where recruiters scour for information on potential employees. Based on a study done by CareerBuilder, 70 percent of employers utilize social media to screen candidates prior to hiring and 54 percent of candidates fail the screening process due to their social media.
Don’t go running and deleting all your social media posts just yet. Here are some social media mistakes that we think you should lookout for and avoid for the sake of your career!
1. Complaining About Your Job or Boss
Sometimes, it is easy for you to feel as if your Twitter account is your personal diary. Hence, whenever you feel frustrated, let it all out online and you can move on with your day. However, if you have something to say about your job, putting it online might not be the best idea. Regardless of how boring your job is or how you hate your boss, keep those thoughts private. If that comment is not hurting you now, it will surely haunt you in the future. Future employers might see it and decide to not hire you as you’ve badmouthed your previous employers.
2. Bullying or Making Offensive Comments
This refers to any comment you may have made that could offend another person or group of people. Be it a racist, sexist, homophobic or any offensive comment or joke. While you may think that you have the “Freedom of Speech”, employers also have the freedom to make any sort of assumptions on you as person based on your social media. For most companies, each employee has the responsibility to uphold the company’s image. That means to not do anything that could reflect badly on their business. A good example is an incident where a former Washington National radio show producer tweeted a racist comment when his favorite team lost a game, which inevitably got him fired.
3. Sharing Incriminating Photos
As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words and in this case, it definitely does. While you may be of legal age, posting a picture of you partying, with alcohol or other illegal substances or even any overtly sexual or offensive photos can affect your employability and credibility. Especially if your line of work requires you to have a proper and clean image. In 2009, a teacher was fired due to her posting a picture of her with a glass of wine and a beer in her hand while she was on vacation. Due to a complaint done by one of the student’s parents, the school had no choice but to suspend her.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Now, you might be thinking, “I’m just going to avoid social media altogether and delete the whole thing.” However, being invisible online might make you look out-of-date with technology today. Not only will you look out-of-touch, you will also miss a fantastic opportunity to make a great first impression on a potential employer through your positive online reputation.
According to a study done by Microsoft, “86% of human resources professionals surveyed stated that a positive online reputation influences the candidate’s application to some extent; almost half stated that it does so to a great extent.” Don’t be afraid of social media but be more mindful when you’re online. A good rule of thumb is, if you have to ask, then don’t post it.