You often hear about how social media can be leveraged to help you get a job, but what about when the process backfires? It happens … and more often than you might think. But this doesn’t mean you need to deactivate your Facebook account and swear off Instagram forever. Instead, read up on four common social media mistakes in order to avoid these pitfalls and enjoy a productive job search.
1. Leaving Your Profile Public
A whopping 77 percent of employers use social media networking sites during the candidate recruitment process, according to a 2013 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) study. Unless you’re up for completely whitewashing your entire social media presence in order to deliver a 100 percent professional impression, simply set your profile to private instead. With one click of the page, you remove the possibility that companies will stumble upon something on your Facebook page that could result in your elimination from consideration.
2. Leaving Unprofessional Content on Your Profile
Even if your profile is set to private, there’s no excuse for unprofessional photos. Take time to remove all potentially incriminating pictures and posts — from rants about your last boss to evidence of that one crazy night on spring break. These can only come back to haunt you.
Also, keep in mind that your profile picture is visible to all — “friends” or not. Choose something professional: this photo may well be the first impression you make on a recruiter.
Negative or gossipy tweets and disgruntled Facebook posts about current and past jobs and bosses do not reflect well on you. This applies to those penned by you as well as others left on your profile. For employers looking to judge your work ethic, level of commitment, and sense of integrity, unprofessional comments on social media set off alarm bells.
And skip the profanity while you’re at it: 63 percent of employers have reconsidered hiring candidates based on encountering the occasional four-letter word in their profiles.
4. Improper Grammar
If you think that your Facebook posts are immune from the grammar police, think again: a staggering 66 percent of recruiters factor spelling and grammar into consideration when checking out the social profiles of candidates.
And don’t forget that your current “friends,” “followers,” and “connections,” are all potential future colleagues and/or employers. Careless posting