Social media is no longer just for fun. Now, beyond serving as a great platform to interact with friends, social media usage can be used for career management, and can affect how one achieves one’s career goals. While the right use of social media has earned some people career advancements, its wrong use has marred the careers of many. It has also become common knowledge that many recruiters run online background checks on potential employees before employing them. So, a Facebook post, a tweet, or even an Instagram post is no longer “ordinary”.
These three common social media practices are capable of hurting your career:
Projecting a negative personality
Beyond being an outlet for one’s opinions, social media is a key branding outlet. To assume that a personal social media account is a reflection its owner’s brand is not far from the truth. The social media account owner’s ignorance of this truth doesn’t rob it of its veracity. Lack of social media etiquette and interpersonal communication, such as posting inappropriate pictures or videos, abusive comments about past or current employers or coworkers, alcoholism, drug use, impolite comments, and other negative behaviour do not promote your brand. Your social media posts should project your personality, qualifications, and competences.
An unclear bio can be worse than not having any profile at all. A Twitter profile that reads: “I am a writer, editor, imaginative thinker, publicist and media consultant. Blog: www.writingimagination.com” is more appealing than one that reads: “I am a word maker, world maker, noisemaker, and news-peddler.” Although the recruiter desires to get a sense of your creativity, try not to confuse them, or to be unnecessarily ambiguous or negative. You never know where your next big offer will come from; so as often as you can, update your bio across the social media platforms where you have a presence..
Keeping private profiles on social media can be good – to an extent. Findings from a 2015 survey by CareerBuilder, of more than 2,000 employers, reveal that thirty-five per cent of employers are less likely to interview job candidates if they are unable to find information about that person online. While seeking to know more about you, many recruiters – especially those in the technology, finance, marketing and sales sectors – would like to choose the best candidate. Having private profiles on select social media platforms might preserve your privacy, but being anonymous is a disservice to yourself.
Also, using a name officially unassociated with you can also make it difficult to find you online. Such invisible presence denies the potential recruiter the privilege of knowing the potential employee or candidate, especially before the preliminary interview. It is also advisable to use a consistent professional profile image and username across all platforms.