6 Social Media Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Career

Social media is becoming increasingly prevalent in the average individual’s life. Think about how often you check your phone throughout the day. It’s become mechanical, in a way. We check so much that we don’t even realize just how much time we spend with our mobile device in hand and our thumbs scrolling lazily through our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds. If you actually tracked just how much time you are on these platforms, I think you’d be surprised with your total time spent each day.

Because we are so attached to our social media accounts, and because we have become so overly transparent by sharing so many aspects of our lives, hiring manager now look to these accounts to get insight into the people they are interviewing. It’s part of a screening process these days, even though it may not feel very fair, and it will continue to be used so long as we continue to use these platforms.

Professionals are now refining their profiles to hide content that they wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see. Some are even changing their profile name to display just first and middle, rather than first and last names, in a last-ditch effort to make it difficult for anyone to locate their profile. However, it’s not that simple, given that all social media accounts are connected to email addresses. With that, we thought we would compile a list of social media mistakes that could hurt your career:

1. Complaining about your boss or co-workers, current or former

What hiring manager would want to recruit someone that bad mouths the people that they work for? If you have the audacity to make a complaint about someone you work for or with now, who’s to stay you wouldn’t do it again in the future? Talking about your boss or peers online is a surefire way to NOT get hired. It’s totally unprofessional, and totally not going to land you a job. It could even be grounds for termination. No job is perfect; everyone has something not-so-wonderful to say about their superiors. You just have to learn to deal with it. It’s part of life – a part that should not be shared with your social following!

2. Posting inappropriate photos or content

This is inclusive of photos that have already been uploaded to your social accounts. Hiring managers view your photos to get an idea of the type of person you are. A picture speaks a thousand words! While you would prefer to not be judged by a photo, it happens. So, all those selfies from university of you taking shots, dancing on top of bars in a super mini skirt, and possibly engaging in other incriminating activities? Those gotta go.

You also should steer clear of sharing other people’s inappropriate or extreme content. These days, the internet is loaded with all sort of tasteless, rude and gross videos and stories. It’s one thing to watch and read this content, but it’s an entirely different thing to hit that share button.

3. Posting on the job

Many think that the most important thing to avoid is the type of content that they share on their social accounts, and don’t think about when they are posting. If you are posting at 10AM on a Tuesday when you are supposed to be getting a report completed by noon, that’s a really bad look. Posting anything while you are on work hours should be off limits, but if you are going to be so bold, only do it on your lunch break. Both current and future employers will take notice of your timestamps.

4. Letting friends post inappropriate photos or comments on your timeline

“Hey Tina, remember that time you got so wasted from the Beer Olympics that you went streaking through the campus and woke up in your own vomit at that creepy Frat house? Those days were nuts! I miss good ole ‘Twisted Tina’!” Do you really think comments like that are going to be received well by any professional person, let alone a potential employer? We don’t want to cast judgment on what crowd you choose to run in, but there is such a thing as having good, aware friends, and not-so-good, oblivious friends. You know who we are talking about: the friend that just loves to post old throwback photos of your crazy university days, or reminisce about all the stuff you got into when you first turned 21 that you probably wouldn’t dare doing now.

Be mindful of your sharing settings; you may decide that post-university is the time to block others from posting anything on your timeline. You don’t want to give others the opportunity to make you look bad. It isn’t just about filtering yourself!

5. Complaining about the people you serve

This falls in the same realm as complaining about your boss or a co-worker. When you work for a company, you are the company, and it’s your responsibility to help it maintain a positive face. Your behaviors will reflect on who you work for. So, don’t criticize your customers online, even if they mistreat you. You won’t get anything out of it and the repercussions will not be worth it! If you must talk about it, call up your friend and share your story to get it off your chest.

6. Using poor spelling or grammar

Despite the fact that social media is more casual than professional, you should always present your best self. This may seem like a small no-no, but it’s really important. Using excessive slang, having a bunch of typos, and misusing the language in general can come off wrong. It may raise questions about your qualifications and of how meticulous and caring you may be about your work. You’re educated – take some time to edit your posts for errors before you hit share.

Now go clean up those profiles! This is relevant to anyone searching for work, whether it be a learnership or a full-time job.