By Dr Hercules Kollias
Social media is often seen as a valuable resource for promoting your resume and networking with industry leaders to help your career progress. Any industry or profession that you’re looking to work in for the long-haul will have plenty of competing professionals vying for the attention of these employers. One way that smart modern individuals are furthering their career paths is by joining LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in order to boost their credibility, work on their networking, and to understand the latest trends that can impact their professions.
The problem is, as valuable as social media is in helping you find work, some (or most) of your regular habits can actually end up damaging your career. In fact, you’d be shocked at how many people get turned down when applying for their dream job simply because they committed a social media faux pas. Are you doing something that will harm your career in the long haul? Let’s find out!
1. Are you guilty of using foul language?
We’ve all let a bad word slip every now and then, and more often than not, swearing in public gets you the wrong kind of attention. Researchers have suggested in the past that using foul language is seen as a sign of intelligence, but it may not be intelligent to use such language in the workplace. If you’re not using swear words at work, why risk using them on social media? Remember, you need to be the bigger person in every situation and avoid exhibiting behavioural patterns that industry leaders will see as negative — swearing being one of them. Even if you feel that no one is looking at your profiles, you really shouldn’t be taking any risks.
2. Are you sharing or liking inappropriate content?
You’ve probably come across a number of social media profiles that are guilty of liking or sharing content that may be seen as political, racist, derogatory or sexist. Sharing this type of content shows potential employers that you support this manner of thinking, which really won’t put you in a positive light. Even if something appears to be funny on the surface, you really need to step back and consider what a stranger would think of you for sharing this particular joke.
3. Are you constantly spamming friends and family?
If you’re on the hunt for a new job, it may be tempting to share with friends and family how the job search is going. Unfortunately, oversharing can be seen as a sign of spamming, which isn’t something that is seen as appealing to employers. In fact, constantly bragging about your skills and accomplishments is seen as a sign of desperation and not a likable quality that companies are looking for in their employees.
4. Are you plagiarizing content?
If you’ve ever read a thought-provoking bit of advice, text or quote online and felt tempted to claim it as your own, you know what it’s like to walk the fine line between plagiarism and honesty. However, if you actually followed through with claiming something as yours when it wasn’t, you’re doing something illegal and lying in the process. If you were a company owner, would you hire someone like this? Whatever you post on social media should be posted in your own words and not lifted from someone else’s websites or profile.
5. Are your privacy settings set up properly?
When you’re searching for a job, you can rest assured that employers screen prospective employees by taking a look at their online social media profiles. It’s important that you don’t end up sharing too much of your personal life online that can hinder your ability to get employed. Always check, in fact, double check your privacy settings, and ensure that you’re creating the proper boundaries between your professional and your personal life.
6. Are you someone guilty of vaguebooking?
Things at work may get out of hand and you may be desperate to blow off some steam by shouting and throwing a temper tantrum. Of course, most of us never end up doing that, but what we do end up doing is posting about it on Facebook. If you’ve ever posted about how bad your workplace is directly or indirectly hinted at your troubles, then you’ve committed the crime of vaguebooking. It may all seem innocent enough, but what you’ve actually done is alienated yourself from potential employers. In addition to looking like a negative prospect for a position at your chosen company, you may end up hurting your relationship with friends and family as many see your negativity as an inability to handle conflict or your emotions.
7. Are you sharing too much information about your personal life?
Meanwhile, discrimination is illegal, it doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Employers want to hire people that are going to be capable in the workplace and many companies have preconceived notions as to what kind of candidates they’re looking for. This may mean that someone with an illness, disability or family problems may be overlooked for a certain position. For this reason, it’s important that you don’t share too much information on social media in regards to your personal life and health issues.
8. Are your profile pictures reflective of your maturity?
The number one way to paint yourself in a negative light is to upload the wrong pictures to your social media profiles. If you’re a professional, it’s important to be seen as one, even on your days off from work. Taking pictures of yourself half-nude, drinking too much or partying with friends is definitely not the way to be seen as a mature candidate for any job. When in doubt, just don’t! It’s better to have one profile picture that makes you appear professional as opposed to five that don’t make you look competent.
If you’re a professional, it’s important to be seen as one.
The sad fact is that we’re all guilty of spending too much time on social media and oversharing. In fact, most of us have done at least one or two of the negative things outlined above. If you’re looking for a way to further your career, it’s important that you really understand the impact that your social media profiles can have on your ability to get hired. Ignoring the facts one too many times can paint you as incompetent, immature, and not professional enough for any job!