Social Media Mistakes: How It Impacts Your Professional Potential

Who today is not familiar with social media or its power? If you are reading this, it’s certainly not you. Social media provides freedom to online users, or consumers, to express themselves. However, for some, it’s easy to overuse this privilege, thus bringing an imbalance to their professional and private lives. This effect can potentially harm their image, particularly when trying to build a career or while looking for a job.

According to a recruiting software company, Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Report, 93% of companies review the social media profiles of possible candidates. That being said, your social media presence could be the first impression you make on a potential employer.

The chart below from the 2014 National Survey conducted of hiring managers and human resource professionals by Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder represents what employers find on social media that’s prompting them to eliminate candidates from consideration.

Most common social media mistakes that lead to pass on a candidate

Below, we have outlined common social media mistakes based on the data above, and advised how to avoid them, and use your online presence to your advantage.

Posting Meretricious Content 

Be mindful of how you want yourself perceived when deciding what you share with the world through social media. Pictures of parties, risqué demeanor, inappropriate jokes, evidence of questionable behavior, or even joining seemingly unsuitable groups may be fun to share and experience with your friends, however, that content may be the very thing preventing you from getting the job you desperately want. Per the Recruiter Nation report, 47% of recruiters view photos of indelicate behavior of potential job candidates negatively.

Tip – Keep your social media presence polished. Don’t be afraid to ignore or decline invites or tags that may expose you in a negative light.

Negative Remarks Regarding Your Previous Employer

When gauging potential candidates, employers often track activities from their previous organization. Writing poorly about your manager or company in which you work, may not turn in your favor as prospective employers will not want an employee who could possibly spread negativity about them in the future. Also, refrain from using negative hashtags, for example: “#hatemyjob”. This can further be searched and read by people outside of your immediate network. When it comes to mixing social media with opinions about your employer, less is always more.

Tip – Keep it positive, or non-existent.

Poor Communication Skills

Language was invented for one reason. To communicate. Having weak verbal or written, communication skills can severely inhibit your chances of landing a job. Whether you like it or not, social media opens a door for recruiters to sample your written communication skills at any time. Even without your knowledge. Using slang or text language especially, on a professional network, gives employers a reason to cancel your candidature. Per the same report mentioned above, 72% of recruiters view typos as negative and unprofessional.

Tip – treat social media posts with the same care as you would an inter-office email. Review and proof read your communications. You never know who may sample them.

Avoid Controversy

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. In today’s world, social media can serve as a platform for open, heated debate. Yet, this can also facilitate an opportunity for you to accidentally share controversial thoughts or opinions regarding current events in topics such as politics, race, religion, health, gender roles, etc.

Tip – If you want to discuss social issues via social media, stick to the positive side rather than risk offending a potential employer.

Revealing Inconsistent Information

Recruiters keep an eye on inconsistencies of information provided in your resume vs. what is available on your online profiles. For example: If a job title, or end date on your resume doesn’t match up to mentioning’s of resignation on one of your accounts, recruiters are sure to raise a red flag.

Tip – Audit your job descriptions shared on social accounts to ensure that they are in line with your professional career. Open your social accounts in incognito/private browsing mode to check how much information is being publicly revealed.

Unethical Sharing

Let’s say you finally land your dream job and all you want to do is shout it from the roof tops (or blast it all over the internet). Don’t. Publicly sharing your job offer, benefits, perks of the company, or private insights in general could be career suicide. In today’s job market, companies like to keep that information private to stay competitive with other employers. Having that information readily available for anyone to see could be detrimental.

Tip – It’s perfectly fine to share that you’ve landed the job you’ve worked so hard to attain, but steer clear of the specifics.

Hiding Your Social Existence

Being careful and sparing is a good practice, but don’t feel like you need to hide your social media presence altogether either. It can play into your benefit. The Jobvite Recruiter Nation Report 2016,  states that 87% of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process. Facebook came in a close second at 43%.

Tip – A positive social image can provide insight into your character that can leave a valuable impression on recruiters. So don’t shy away from being out there, connect and engage with like mind people. Increase your network both in volume and value.

Final Comments:

Social media has certainly revolutionized the way we connect and communicate. Make every effort to avoid these simple mistakes, and use it to your advantage.

Please feel free to share your views, opinions, and advice.