5 Social Media Mistakes that Could Damage Your Career

Posted April 03, 2015 by
Happy young woman looking up of Hand drawn illustration of social media sign and symbol doodles

Happy young woman looking up of hand drawn illustration of social media sign and symbol doodles. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

By now you probably already know that your next employer will peak into your amazing, oh-so-cool Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter profile to check you out (I don’t mean this in the wrong way).

Oh, what,you didn’t know? Go ahead and have a look at Career Builder’s 2013 research results based on the topic. According to a sample of more 2,100 hiring managers and recruiters, 2 in 5 (exactly 39%) companies used social media to research candidates and find information that would help them decide on hiring the candidate or not.

So, before you tweet, share, or comment on anything that makes you look like someone on the farthest opposite end of “decent” or “professional”, take necessary caution!

Have you heard of the term “zombie content”? The term zombie content is derived from the fact that anything you post on the social media is out there on the web and never goes way even if you have forgotten it. It doesn’t simply die! And given the ease of finding any form of content nowadays, you’d want to be aware of what Google unearths from your social media pages. Turns out those frat parties or crazy spring break pictures tags never disappeared and your potential employer could be looking at it any time—even right now!

Here are the top 5 social media mistakes that could damage your career.

1) Not Fixing The Privacy Settings: If the networks have given you the benefit of customizing who can and can’t see your stuff, utilize it! Some pictures, updates, and information (such as age or full name) arehighly personal. Don’t shine all sides of your personality to everyone. Chances are your current or future boss doesn’t agree with your political views. Also, provocative/ inappropriate content ranked at the top reason (50% said that this was the reason) for employers to decide against a candidate when CareerBuilder asked employers about how they chose not to hire someone. Drug use and discriminatory content (race, religion, gender etc) was also one of the top reasons. So, avoid updating such harmful content at all costs.

Try to limit your content to your “friends” only, and if needed, only family or very close friends. Take care of those re-tweets, tags, and shares your friends or followers have initiated. If you are not comfortable with a larger audience viewing it, ask them to change the privacy settings, also.

2) Bad Mouthing Your Ex-Boss or Co-Workers: This is a major social media faux-pas and will definitely hurt your career. Avoid passing random rude comments about your boss, your workplace, work, or the co-workers because your potential employers will think you will do the same when it comes to their organizations.

3) Contradictory Information: Clearly, you have listed your credentials, years of experience, and maybe the age(if required) on your resume or LinkedIn profile. If you’ve tweaked the information a bit into something that may not be true because the social networking profiles of yours are all telling a different story, you will be labeled as someone unreliable or fake.

I personally knew a friend who has mismatched birth dates because his parents registered him six months after he was born (don’t ask me why. No idea!). Unfortunately for him, he has to go along with his official “documented” birthday everywhere – even on his social media profiles. Not doing so would have made him look like he was purposing giving out the wrong information.

4) Plagiarism: If you’ve applied to a content marketing firm or a similar media agency where “creative content”is what employers expect from their essay writers or researchers for that matter, the text, picture, quote, or articles you have posted needs to have reference citations as well. Plagiarism is completely unacceptable in the professional world.

5) Using Crazy/ Incomprehensible Language: If you’re posting in your own language, that’s fine. But if you’re using crazy text language such as, “Xomeday, ua will find de 1 who will watch xunrixewidua”, you’re in trouble.

Not only is it corny, UN-catchy, and unprofessional, it is incomprehensible for many people. Poor communication skillis another reason why many employers decided against a candidate, according to the CareerBuilder survey.

About Author:

Skornia Alison is a tech geek by nature and marketing executive by profession. She’s also a passionate traveler and she loves to talk about her travels wherever she goes.

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