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Are You Making Yourself Look Bad on Social Media? Common Mistakes to Avoid

Aug 15, 2012 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 0 Comments

Some mistakes are obvious—posting pictures of yourself with a lampshade on your head at the last New Years party, for example. But other social media mistakes are more subtle—and can be just as bad for your reputation. It’s essential to maintain a positive social media persona that isn’t working behind your back to undermine your chances of getting a job. Here are a few things to avoid on social media while you’re looking for your next job.

Being negative, unkind, or making fun of someone

Negative comments—even those that are meant to be funny or teasing—may reflect worse on you than on the person you’re making fun of. Always keep your social media persona positive, and you’re less likely to turn off potential employers by giving them any kind of negative vibe—or getting the impression that your personality just isn’t the right fit for them.

See Also: Online Media Degrees

Social Media Sharing

Finding a job in this economy isn’t easy—and many employers look for any reason to disqualify someone and shorten the huge list of applicants.

Tagging unflattering pictures of other people

Sometimes in addition to watching what you’re tagged in, you also have to consider what you tag yourself. You’d be surprised that such a small thing might get noticed—but tagging unflattering pictures of others indicates a possible lack of consideration for those people. Avoid tagging pictures of your friends doing things that might conceivably make them look bad to their employers.

See Also: Online Social Media Degrees

Posting an unprofessional profile photo

This one seems obvious—but many people don’t consider their profile pictures as much as they should. Avoid profile photos that are too casual or show you doing something that might reflect badly on the company—any kind of drinking or party photos are an obvious no-no. Don’t assume your possible employers won’t see your profile photo if they’re not friends with you on that social media site—many of these profiles are searchable on Google and other search engines.

Posting pictures of high-risk activities

Are you a rock climber? Love motorcycles or skydiving? That may be hurting your chances of employment. Employers don’t want to hire someone who could quite possibly break a leg and be out of work for months because of their high-risk hobby—or even worse, be expensive to insure. Avoid posting pictures of you doing things that are dangerous and high-risk—at least until after you’re hired.

Bad-mouthing a previous employer

Avoid saying anything negative about anyone who has employed you online. Your new employer will assume that if you’re willing to treat a previous employer that way, you’re likely to speak negatively about them as well if everything doesn’t go your way—and that’s negative publicity they don’t need. If you can’t say anything nice about a previous employer, just don’t say anything at all.

Posting political views

Your social media sites are supposed to be areas where you can express yourself freely—but they’re not. And posting political views—especially of the controversial variety—can make you look bad to potential employers, especially if you routinely get into arguments with other people on social media about political issues. Don’t assume that the person doing the online investigation for the company you want to work for will share your political views.

Finding a job
in this economy isn’t easy—and many employers look for any reason to disqualify someone and shorten the huge list of applicants they have to deal with. Keep careful tabs on your social media presence, and you should be able to make sure it’s not working against your job search.


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