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Five Social Media Mistakes That Will Hurt Your Job Search

As social media continues to gain normalcy, people filter their tweets and posts less and less, while potential employers are checking out social profiles more and more. Unfortunately, today making big mistakes that are seen by the whole world is extremely easy, particularly if something “goes viral” and is seen by millions of people. Once a misstep is picked up by the search engines, everyone can find it, and making a misstep in social media is very easy.


Here are five social media mistakes that could really slow down your job search:

Images and updates that reference a focus on partying

Believe it or not, if you have a picture from your college days, maybe as a previous profile pic on Facebook, it could work against you. Especially if said picture is you doing a shot or some other questionable picture. Employers look through your posts and pictures pretty well, and finding an image, even from way-back-when that is questionable could work against you.

Complaints about previous jobs

These definitely shouldn’t make it into your tweets or posts. Whether or not you actually say the name of your boss, coworker, or company, you could get passed over. Venting your frustrations online about your job is never appropriate. Choose instead to talk it over with a trusted friend. What you have to say may be true, but it creates a poor impression of you. After all, if you lacked discretion then, your potential employer is probably wondering if you lack it still.

Offensive sentiments or images on your profile and/or extreme political or religious views

Especially with your professional accounts, you don’t need to state your political affiliation. As much as you might like to engage in a debate about your favorite or least favorite political candidate, resist the urge. You don’t need your potential employer viewing your professional account and finding long rants or heated conversations with other LinkedIn users. Everyone has opinions and expressing them is good. But there is a time and place for that. Social media, even if it’s your private account, may not be the best place to do so.

Photos or discussion about illegal activities (even if in a joking manner)

Whether it’s a joking reference or not, avoid this at all cost. Online, you can’t decipher tone or context, so no one really knows what you mean by what you said. Any illegal activity on your part could get you in trouble with the law and would reflect poorly on your company. So don’t reference anything illegal and keep your reputation pristine.

Playing when you should be working

This one seems obvious, but it happens quite often. Requesting time off work for a “family emergency” and then posting pictures of yourself at a party is not going to end well for you. Lying to your boss obviously is poor judgment, and will reflect badly on you. Even if your potential employer doesn’t know the context, your post contains a date and time mark. This means that they see when it was posted, presumably when it was happening.

Bottom Line

When used appropriately, social media can help you find a job, career advice, and people who can assist you with growing your career. A good rule of thumb is to keep your personal and professional accounts separate. Don’t let the two mix. Stay professional on your LinkedIn and Twitter professional accounts. On your personal accounts, simply use good judgment. You can be more relaxed, but be aware of what can really turn potential employers away.