In today’s world of technology, it’s easy for potential employers to learn a lot about you without ever having a conversation with you. Most of us have some sort of social media presence, which is often the digital first impression we give off.
A savvy job seeker can utilize their social media accounts to their advantage, but the opposite is also true. The following social media behaviors can prevent you from ever getting a shot at your dream job, so make sure to scout out your profiles!
Don’t bash employers
Social media might feel like the right place to vent about your trials and tribulations, and in some cases, a brief rant might get good attention. But if your profile is especially negative, especially to your employer, potential future employers will get the ick.
You might have legitimate reasons to complain about a previous employer, and there are plenty of bad bosses and organizations out there. But for the same reasons you wouldn’t want to badmouth a previous employer in an interview, you should also avoid bashing them on social media.
Posting negatively about your employer displays a lack of professionalism and disrespect toward workplace confidentiality. A company will think you’d be just as willing to bash them online and discuss their sensitive matters.
“Your social media accounts may be a place to express yourself, but if you’re in the job market, those accounts will be used to evaluate you as a future employee and culture fit.” –Adrianne Bibby, FlexJobs
Social media allows you to curate what type of person you want to appear as to your online communities. You not be involved in direct one-on-one conversations in the same way online, but many of the same principles apply. If you’re an oversharer, you’ll certainly rub your audience the wrong way, including potential employers.
If you did a wicked keg stand, that will impress some people in your network but not necessarily your next employer’s HR department. And if you’re constantly lamenting about your ex, it might show a lack of awareness and knowing the time and place for some conversations. Oversharing can be the difference in getting a job or not.
Your profiles are certainly just that—your profiles. But if you’re putting potentially embarrassing content into the digital world, employers have every right to judge you based on that content. That’s why LibGig says to choose which platforms to use privately and which to use publicly. Take advantage of privacy settings and decide what type of content you want each platform to display.
This one feels pretty obvious, but all spam doesn’t look like “HOT SINGLES IN YOUR AREA.” Sometimes, spamming is just being a little too eager with connection attempts or being too aggressive in sharing something. It’s easy to get excited and cross the line, which is why it’s so important to be vigilant.
Recruit Military writes not to send potential employers or hiring managers friend requests on sites like Facebook or to follow personal accounts on Instagram on Twitter/X. Unless a profile clearly exists in a professional-facing manner, you’re trying to creep on a stranger’s personal account. And, of course, there’s an irony there because companies might try to do the same to you. But it’s best to keep a professional distance.
Don’t share misinformation or highly controversial posts
If you’re searching for a job, ideally you want to appear as a wise, capable individual. Your resume might sell that, but if you’re spreading questionable information on social media, an employer will think you might not be capable of filtering information or you may have strong biases that could impact your work.
Wiser Brand’s Eugene Koplyk reminds us to always fact-check before sharing something. There’s a lot of misinformation out there and many malicious sites looking to exploit you. Sharing misinformation lowers your chances of being viewed as an expert and shows that you can’t take the time to verify something before sharing.
“Expressing your opinions on debatable topics can give the impression that your advice might be biased. As a result, employers could be reluctant to interview you or offer you a job.” –Job Store Staffing
Don’t neglect spelling and grammar
Finally, make sure that your posts and content on social media are legible. The days of writing in l33tspeak are over, and even meme accounts are rarely dropping “ u r”s anymore. You want to appear coherent.
FlexJob’s Adrianne Bibby says that even if you aren’t applying to a role with a lot of writing or editing, you still need to look professional. An employer may have doubts about your competence if they see consistent errors. Beyond basic grammar, avoid things like speaking in all caps, aggressive exclamation points, or dropping an absurd amount of hashtags.
“The occasional grammar or spelling error isn’t the end of the world, but don’t let it become a pattern.” –Doug MacMillan, Mechanical Business
Your social media accounts may be a place to express yourself, but if you’re in the job market, those accounts will be used to evaluate you as a future employee and culture fit. By avoiding these common social media pitfalls, you’ll be clearly visible as a professional, courteous, self-aware, and competent individual. Be aware of your posting habits and consider how you’ll appear to any hiring managers.