Social media can kill your career. That’s not surprising, nor is it new. But right now, with recent college graduates out there job hunting and since it is an election year, this is a great time to be warned again. People are overlooked for job interviews and promotions and they get fired, all for making inappropriate posts on social media.
“People need to be reminded,” said Deborah Brown-Volkman, professional certified coach at SurpassYourDreams.com, “just like every year at Christmas time, we remind them not to drink too much at the office party or tell the boss what they think of him.”
Because people use social media 24/7, saving your career means more than just deleting those Friday night photos. Here’s what you need to know to avoid committing social media career killers.
Employers are going to explore online and they will find you
“Present and future employers look at and monitor your social media sites,” said Brown-Volkman. “Some companies have compliance departments that monitor them and go so far as to ask for LinkedIn passwords to monitor your mail,” she added.
Everyone has a different sense of humor
What’s funny to you may deeply offend another. No employer wants to be insulted nor do they want to risk other employees or potential customers being offended. And, just because you’re simply sharing or reposting, that doesn’t mean you will be off the hook. People’s perceptions of you as a professional can change dramatically if they see you rant and rave about provocative topics.
“Don’t share or talk about anything controversial,” said Brown-Volkman. “You can be a republican or a democrat, but the point of view stuff that makes you or others respond angrily or start blaming, will get you in trouble too,” she added.
There is such a thing as over-exposure
Ever get sick and tired of hearing the same song everywhere you go or every time you get in the car? Or, what about seeing the same celebrity interview on every morning, noon and nighttime show? That’s exactly the reason you shouldn’t over share on social media. People will not only get sick of ‘seeing’ you, but they may question your credibility if all they see are things you posted all day long. When would you have had time to actually do some work?
Nothing is private!
“People are going to look at your profile and anything you post is fair game,” said Brown-Volkman. “Even if you adjust your privacy settings, they somehow see it.” When you think you’re venting to only your closest one hundred friends, there could be one hundred more who take it out of context or share with their one hundred closest friends. And remember, there is no privacy setting for preventing someone from taking screenshots of your posts and sending them to someone else.
“Post G-rated stuff like pictures of you smiling, with your family and friends, or being active, like climbing a mountain or running a race,” said Brown-Volkman. Also, differentiate between personal and professional accounts. Use LinkedIn to connect with colleagues, clients and potential employers and to share career or business news. Reserve Facebook to give family and real friends, fun updates and information. When all is said and done, the best advice for professionals is to keep social media posts clean and upbeat at all times.