Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting with people and finding work. It’s no secret that many prospective employers check the social media platforms of potential candidates before offering them interviews. However, it’s all too easy to let yourself down and jeopardise your chances of securing that dream career with a careless status update.
While this seems obvious for professional sites like LinkedIn, the content on your other profiles can also affect your career progression. We’ve put together some social media mistakes to avoid to help boost your chances of getting that next big job.
Choose an Appropriate Photo
The first thing anyone sees of you on social media is your profile picture, and a picture tells a thousand words. This is especially important on sites like LinkedIn where you should have a professional-looking image suitable for your field of preferred employment, rather than one taken on a night out with friends. A clear, up-to-date headshot and a warm smile can give a great first impression.
While your profile picture is of paramount importance, the other photos you appear in on social media can also affect your work prospects. If an employer checks your Facebook or Instagram and sees a whole host of pictures of you partying, or even doing something controversial, then they may slip your CV into the reject pile.
Use Language Wisely
The quality of your language on social media matters. An employer who is going to rely on you to write up reports isn’t going to be impressed by text speech on your Twitter. If you’re representing a serious company, and your profile is open, it’s never a good idea to post a lot of controversial opinions, swear words or engage in tasteless comments. Trolling or abuse are very likely to be viewed as a red flag by prospective employers too.
It may seem obvious, but one massive ‘no-no’ on social media is complaining about your current job or mocking your customers. Most employers tend to take the view that if you do this kind of thing once, you’ll do it again, and that you’re not worth the risk of employing.
Less obviously, it’s a good idea to refrain from talking about job offers you’ve received because employers often prefer these to be confidential. If your current employer is watching your profile they might not take well to finding out that you are looking elsewhere.
Keep Your Contacts in Mind
It’s great to get on well with your manager and colleagues, but remember, your boss is still your boss even when you have them on your Facebook friends list. It’s worth thinking twice before accepting friend requests from co-workers as mixing business and pleasure can be risky. If you’re logged in during work hours, your boss will be able to see and if you do post a rant or indiscretion about your workplace, they’ll be able to see that too.
Be mindful of your current employer’s social media policy and take care to not contravene it. As a representative of your workplace, avoid talking about the company or breaching confidentiality agreements online. The rules that are set out are there to protect the reputation of the company, and ultimately your job…so stick to them!