Sharing statuses and photos about your private life on your various social media profiles is the norm now. In reality, finding someone who doesn’t participate in the social media ruckus is a rarity. But have you ever considered that what you post may be detrimental to your career?
The reality is, most people rely on it for the livelihood of their businesses, brand image, recruitment process and job seeking. The absence of a social presence speaks volumes - if you don’t have it, employers or recruiters can easily presume you’re not social-media savvy, or remotely interested in networking or even in technology.
Social media has the power to make or break you - you could be at the top of your social ladder one day, but an unpopular opinion about the next election could lead to your friends thinking twice you. Portray the right image of yourself, and you’ll get places - socially. You may not care what your friends think, but you’ll definitely care about what your current or future employer thinks. According to a YouGov survey, more than half of HR professionals in the UK admit that online reputation influences whether a candidate gets hired. Astonishingly, 33 per cent of young people don’t care about their social media profile. Graduates, we’re looking at you!
If you’re on the social media bandwagon, you may think you have it down pat, but it doesn’t hurt to take some care for the sake of your career. Being cautious about what you post online doesn’t have to be difficult, it’s simple common sense. Here’s a few tips to remain appropriate for work online.
Complaining about your job
You may be doing this inadvertently. We’ve all done it before. Even something simple, like complaining about Monday blues. Whether you’re sharing a status or a meme, it may not be the worst impression you can give, but it could still give off a bad image of you. To employers, you have to at least seem like you enjoy Mondays, otherwise why would they want to be there on a Monday? Whinge in silence.
Bashing old employers
As you would never mention anything negative in an interview regarding your old job - it matters not that your ex-boss should shove his head where the sun don’t shine - you shouldn’t complain about it online either. It gives employers and recruiters the impression that it’s in your nature to speak this way and that you may talk about them this way in the future, or that you just find a lot of things to complain about. Not a good look.
Lewd behaviour, ie. drinking and expletives
Drinking isn’t illegal or bad of course, but take care in the way you portray yourself in pictures while you enjoy a pint. At the local pub with some friends over the weekend? No problem. However sitting on top of the keg, chugging beer to your limit with the caption “F*** yeah!” is too much. Be careful, because you may have a similar picture ten profile pictures ago that you’ve forgotten about.
If you must share pictures of lewd behaviour, ensure you select which friends can view the image and make your profile private. Speaking of expletives, be wary that what you say on your friend’s status or even a comment on a fan page can still be seen through a Google search. If your profile is private, your friend’s might not be and that fan page sure isn’t. Even following a lewd page on Facebook or Twitter can expose you in the most embarrassing way. Just know, we’ve warned you.
Illegal activity, Nude photos
These are absolute no-go’s.‘Nuff said.
Posting too much, and not enough
This is a double-edged sword. If you post too much, you’ll be considered too opinionated and a spammer. As mentioned earlier, if you don’t post enough, employers wonder if you even care about networking or if you know how to use social platforms or care about technology at all. Ideally, you should have enough opinions that you retweet or share posts that give employers an idea of your likes, dislikes and worldviews, not too much that you look like a madman/woman.
Extra tip: showing that you have a creative flair in the way you post online is a good thing, in particular within the marketing/media industry. You’ll look like a social media aficionado, and it leads to a stronger profile and a better reputation.
Sadly, if grammar is something you have never cared to maintain on social media, you may look a little bit ignorant and incompetent in the eyes of an employer or recruiter. They’ll think that if you can’t tell the difference between their, they’re and there, you can’t manage accounts or run reports.
There’s nothing like showing your employer about your people skills by unknowingly telling them that you’re an online troll on Twitter. Trolls are rampant online – but we’d prefer it if they stayed with the gnomes in the garden. We definitely don’t endorse trolling, but if you really have to be that person, don’t attach an account to your name.
Being unprofessional on LinkedIn
Be as casual and post about your private life as you like on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram - to an extent - but you absolutely must be on your best behaviour on LinkedIn. It’s an online office space; speak business, career accomplishments and industry insights – if we want to see your dog, we’ll ask.
Hopefully you haven’t been making any of these mistakes as of late but if you have, not to worry, just check the ol’ privacy settings before you apply for your next role or ask for that promotion.