With privacy seemingly becoming more and more eroded as social media platforms develop, it can really pay for you to avoid making the same social media mistakes that so many job seekers are prone to. After all, making a mistake on social media could be the difference between you having a long successful career or being unemployed.
In the same way that you should work on skills that will land you the job you want; you have to put in the time to train yourself to avoid making mistakes that could cost you a valuable opportunity.
While celebrities and officials can often afford to make social media mistakes from time to time, it’s important to remember that they aren’t everyday people. However, a West Virginia mayor had to resign this week after making highly offensive remarks about Michelle Obama on Facebook.
While she wasn’t technically a job seeker (she is now), her abhorrent post caused an outcry of condemnation online. Once your content is out there, you have no idea who might see it and this example should serve as a stark reminder to job seekers everywhere.
Here are 3 essential tips to help you avoid making social mistakes that can cause you huge problems when looking for a job.
- Don’t mix business with pleasure
It’s hard not to feel confused about where the line should lie between your professional and personal life on social media. Many important people from all kinds of companies share their opinions on their social media accounts, but in the main they tend to keep conversation strictly professional.
When you’re looking for a job, it’s essential that you don’t post anything you wouldn’t want a prospective employer to see. Even though privacy settings have come a long way in the last few years, you should always consider your social media posts to be accessible by anyone.
Social media mistakes are a huge downfall for many job seekers and staying professional online isn’t exactly a bad trait to have. For example, you wouldn’t walk into a restaurant with a megaphone and have a conversation with your close friends about your personal opinions, lifestyle, or controversial topics. You should have the same caution about keeping your posts online private because it’s easy to forget that social media is a public space too.
- Get rid of the skeletons in your closet
It’s good practice to assume that any photos you’ve posted online could now be cult memes in an online community or your tweets might have been featured in an online article. But, with that being said it’s always worthwhile going through your older posts on social media to check for inappropriate content.
Getting rid of the skeletons in the closets of your social media accounts is a good way to move on from times gone. The old saying, a picture paints a thousand words is certainly true when it comes to employers checking up on job seekers.
It might seem like an arduous task, but going through all your old photos from university is a good place to start and it will help to protect you in the long run. If some of your photos are offensive, simply delete them. If you’ve been tagged in something inappropriate, just untag yourself.
But, this goes for more than just your photos online. Also, go through your videos, posts, and likes on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any other platforms you’re signed up to. This will give you a great base to move forward from so that you can start being more professional online without the fear of your past catching up to you.
- Avoid using social media during work hours
Making social media mistakes can sometimes be so small that you probably wouldn’t even notice you made them. Using social media at work essentially gives any employer who manages to access your account an extensive time stamped list of your activity.
Say you’re looking for a job but you’re currently employed. If you’re someone who posts things, such as “I’m so bored at work” and “Look, this dog can surf!” during work hours then you’re ruining your chances to find work elsewhere. In addition to this, you could end up being fired if your current employers find out.
If you’re interested in social media or writing online in general, you could consider asking your employer whether you could work on the company blog. Posting during work hours might seem innocuous, but in reality you could have ended any hope of getting hired in the future.
Social media has to be thought of as a career tool if you want to see yourself succeed. Most people will have something on their social media that they wouldn’t be proud of if they knew it was there, but any prospective employer won’t know that. Purge your account of anything you wouldn’t want your boss to see and portray your image professionally. It’s a sure way to stay clear of making social media mistakes and you’ll have a huge advantage when you’re looking for a job.