Many of us think we are Social Media experts and document our every move on apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and YouTube. Your news feed is probably full of daily rants about how there was so much traffic, or, what your “friend” is eating for lunch or their plans for the weekend; not leaving any aspect of our lives personal. These kind of comments can actually ruin your personal brand and affect your chances of bagging the dream job you want to get.
If you’re wondering what you should ditch in your next post, continue reading our 20 tips to avoid when you are dealing with your online profile:
1. Stop Being a Nagging Nancy
There’s always that one person that is constantly moaning about their day to day lives, whether someone has cut them up on the road, or, pushed in front of them at the supermarket. We all encounter these circumstances but most of us choose not to let it affect us – especially on social media. If your potential employer is checking your online profile, they may choose not to hire you if they think you’ll constantly be moaning and bring a bad vibe to the office.
2. A Cranky Critic is Off-Limits
If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. Yes, you have an opinion, but, if your opinion is irrelevant or negative, leave it to those who are close to you. Keep your views to a minimum and be cautious when sharing your thoughts. Always think about whether your family or employer would disapprove of your criticism. If you think they would – quickly press the delete button!
3. Get Rid of Your Embarrassing Tags
You’ve got tagged photos of your teenage self, with backcombed hair and heavy eye liner, beverage in hand, cigarette in another lingering from 2004. It’s now time to hide that tag and banish its existence – you may have thought it was cool then but think of your reputation. Do you really want a new colleague digging up and one of the worst photos from your past?
4. Steer Clear of Sexual References
Did you hear a funny sexual joke and want to share it with your Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections so they can see your humorous side? If so, remember that you are a public forum and it’s easy to misconstrue a crude joke – especially in written form.
5. Racist Remarks Are Forbidden
Many people, especially in the field of Law can get involved in online political discussions which can be controversial at times. Any racial slur is never acceptable; if you’re seen making and derogatory comments you can kiss your job and future opportunities goodbye!
6. Avoid Typo’s
Typos are an employer’s biggest pet hate – they can come across as careless and sloppy. This year, the Department of Education sent out a tweet misspelling W. E. B. DuBois's name, then misspelled "apologies" as "apologizes" in its follow-up apology-for-misspelling tweet. What a fail! Make sure that isn’t you by spell-checking your posts before you share them.
7. Don’t Be a Potty Mouth
Although you may swear on a daily basis, leave the truck driver trash talk for your personal time. Swearing can be taken as social cruelty depending on what context it’s written in and who is reading your post.
8. Refrain From Sharing Confidential Information
This may be a no-brainer but don’t disclose personal information like your home address, telephone number or full date of birth online. A survey conducted by Visa found that almost half of 1,000 respondents said they disclose their birthday on social media. It is like offering hackers your credit card and keys to your house in order to wipe you clean of all your money and possessions.
9. Reference Correctly
If you are taking an image or a piece of information from another online source, make sure you reference them correctly. Don’t try to make it pass off as your own; this shows that you are lazy, unimaginative and are also capable of lying – something that will tarnish your personal brand.
10. Never Share Your Location
You’re off on your yearly holiday and want to show the world where you are going and what a great time you are having. Before you add the location tag to “Heathrow Airport” or your favourite restaurant in New York, have a think about who has access to your social media accounts and how you are inviting them to rob your house. If you really want to share your holiday snaps whilst you’re away send them to your closest in a WhatsApp group until you are home and can share at your heart’s content.
11. Don’t Air Your Dirty Laundry
We are all human and get into domestics from time-to-time, but, nobody else needs to know your personal arguments. It can alter someone’s judgement on your partner and yourself and can tarnish your professional reputation. What happens behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors.
12. Never Post Drunk Photos From a Work-Do
Whether you’re out celebrating a colleague’s birthday, a new deal that has been closed or your promotion, any sloppy, drunk photos should stay offline. If those photos got into the wrong hands it could damage not only your own reputation but, your companies too, resulting in you getting the sack. You should try to avoid drinking at work gatherings or, at least, limit yourself to one drink. This isn’t university anymore, and your entire career is on the line here.
13. Ditch the Bragging
We all know that one person that toots their own horn, whilst the rest of the office is eye-rolling behind their back. Don’t be that person that gives others a reason to bad-mouth. Employers and the general public don’t appreciate a person that shows off their wealth and achievements. If you are proud of an accomplishment, share this in a humble way.
14. Avoid Sharing Your Financial Status
Whether you are a millionaire, middle class or just about scraping by - don’t share your financial status with your online community. No one is interested in your Platinum Credit Card, the amount of money, or lack of, in your bank or your new car that costs £100K. It only matters to people who are trying to run after your money.
15. Limit Posting the Same on All Social Media Accounts
Be original and creative! Instagram doesn’t work the same as Facebook and you are more likely to use LinkedIn and Twitter in your job search. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having a Twitter @ shared on Facebook when that person or brand doesn’t even have an account. It shows employers that you are not prepared to think outside of the box per se.
16. Don’t be a Superfluous Selfie Poster
While the occasional selfie is excusable, a profile with inundated selfies that aren’t office-appropriate suggest an inflated ego. It’s important to be mindful of how frequently you post these type of photos as you don’t want to come off as a “self-loving big-head”.
17. Being a Nobody is Off-Limits
Having no social media presence at all can threaten your career. “Many employers won’t consider someone who doesn’t have a social media presence," says Peter Mendez, CEO of Crafted NY. "Besides, there’s so much good that having a social media presence can do for your career." Just post wisely and with intention, always keeping in mind that everything is accessible to your current and future employers.
18. Quit Posting While At Work
It’s not just what you post, but when you post as well. If you are writing tweets or adding pictures to Instagram while you are supposed to be working, it can damage your online presence. Save the posting for lunch breaks and out of work hours to be on the safe side.
19. Don’t Share Your Latest Job Offer
Just because you have a job offer, doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing and if you break the confidentiality before you’ve even stepped foot into your new office, you will be seen as untrustworthy and your new offer can be revoked. Mashable has an example of a woman who posted: "Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work." To no one’s surprise, she was fired before her first day.
20. Refrain From Being a Connection Counter
Stop favouring quantity over quality! In the working world, real and meaningful professional relationships are what matter. Focus on building a network of aspiring individuals that will offer you advice and will want to learn more about you.
Have you ever made any of these social media slip-ups? What was the outcome and what did you learn from your experience? Tell us in the comments section below…