Social Media Mistakes to Avoid While Job Searching

Woman Using Laptop and Cell Phone
June 26, 2020
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Looking for a new job is a stressful yet exciting prospect. While you don’t yet have your desired position, you have the potential to reach for something great. 

As you may know well, job searching is anything but simple. With so many other prospective applicants, the odds are stacked against you. 

With this in mind, you must do whatever you can to stand out and leave a positive impression on your future employer. One of the most important elements of this is your online presence. 

clean online presence is essential to getting hired because it speaks to your personality, character, and attitude toward work. Unfortunately, you can make several simple mistakes that will eliminate any chances of getting hired at a respectable company. Fortunately, these errors can be avoided if you know what not to do. We’ll take a look at five significant social media blunders that you should avoid below!    

Talking Negatively About Work 

One of the biggest red flags for a prospective employer is talking negatively about work on social media. 

Even if your current or previous job and employer were the worst things imaginable, you cannot talk poorly about them. The problem with doing this is that a neutral third party like a new employer lacks perspective on the situation. 

To them, all they can see is a disgruntled employee who took their frustrations to the public Internet. They have no proof that what you say is true. 

Even if it is, it reflects poorly on you to trash another employer. The higher route is to say nothing about the situation on social media. 

This also raises the concern of whether you will also talk negatively on social media about your new employer. Should you do this, it can hurt their reputation and sales to have you employed. 

Because of this, any amount of negative input about a previous or current employer/job is off-limits. Just don’t do it. 

Offensive Content 

Any form of offensive or politically incorrect content will also send an employer running. 

Anyone who works for a company represents them at all times. Even if you aren’t expressly on the clock or displaying work identification, your conduct still reflects on the business. 

This is because being employed comes with the understanding that your employer accepts who you are and condones your behavior. Should your behavior include posting offensive content on social media, then this looks bad for any business.  

Keep in mind that many things can be considered offensive. An easy way to consider if something is safe to post is whether you would appropriately say it to a child. 

This means that anything involving racism or bigotry is a major red flag. Furthermore, avoid controversial topics like politics and religion, because your open stance can be a conflict for a new employer.

Know that everything you post will be scrutinized by a potential employer. Anything that makes them think twice is enough to lose you a new job.   

Evidence of Illegal Activity 

You should also avoid posting any evidence of illegal activity on your feed. 

Most people aren’t foolish enough to do something as stupid as breaking the law and bragging about it on social media. However, you may be surprised to hear that some people do make this mistake.  

Alternatively, you can make minor admissions of guilt that are also problematic. While you might think subtly talking about something in code is clever, it’s suspicious and will likely get you associated with nefarious or legally or morally ambiguous behavior.  

Avoid making any posts that implicate yourself or voice your support for a crime. It isn’t cool and an employer wants nothing to do with someone who openly breaks the law.  

One final part of this is that you should also refrain from posting about controversial recreational decisions. This particularly applies to references about drinking alcohol, smoking marijuana, or engaging in risky behavior.  

You may want to share your potentially illegal exploits, but doing so is a large error. You should never break the law and admitting your guilt is hands-off for an employer.  

Inconsistencies and Contradictions 

Another social media mistake is having inconsistencies and contradictions between the information you’ve provided and details found across all social media accounts. 

When you apply for a job, you have to provide them with personal information. This is mainly what’s inside your resume, cover letter, and job application. 

Considering that so many people apply for the same jobs as you, it’s tempting to do something drastic to make yourself stand out. Specifically, you may lie about your past to make yourself seem like a better fit for a job. You’ve likely heard of lying about scholastic credentials, but it applies to anything that you state incorrectly.  

While looking at your social media accounts, you need to ensure two things.  

First, you must ensure that your social media accounts match each other. If you have two drastically different social media accounts with distinctly dissimilar personalities, this will be a major concern for a potential employer. After all, which one most accurately reflects the real you? With different personalities, an employer may think that you are unstable and untrustworthy. Furthermore, they may believe that everything you say is a lie. 

Second, you need to only provide accurate information to a new employer that matches what you have on social media. This boosts your credibility because it means there’s a greater likelihood that you are who you say you are.  

Take this in mind and remember that how you portray yourself online must align with who you are and what you’ve displayed to employers.  

Lack of Professionalism 

Finally, a general lack of professionalism on your social media page can disqualify you from a job. 

At the end of the day, a new employer wants the best person for the job. Many factors affect this determination, but what tends to matter often is intangible. 

Many hiring decisions are based on how the employer feels about you. Some focus on credentials and experience, but these are not unique traits. Your personality, attitude, and demeanor affect how an employer feels about you. An impression of you can be drawn from your social media accounts, which is what they’ll base their hiring decision on.  

Most employers want a new employee that gives them hope that the job will be done well. One of the best ways to give this impression is by having a professional online presence. 

When you want someone to get the job done right, who do you hire? You hire a professional. Showing that you’re capable, driven, and have yourself together will give a professional vibe. 

With this in mind, you should conduct yourself on your social media account like you would in a business meeting. Be courteous and respectful in all your interactions. 

If you want a social media account to have more fun with, you should create two separate accounts. Keep your personal account private and leave the work account public so that you can still be found.  

The more professional your social media presence is, the more likely you are to get hired.  

Closing Thoughts 

Have you considered social media as a reason why you may not be getting hired? The content you post and your overall impression directly affect your ability to get a job. New employers want low-risk, high-potential employees that won’t create any issues for them.  

Specifically, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid making at all costs on social media. This includes talking negatively about work, creating offensive content, posting evidence of illegal activity, having inconsistencies and contradictions, and lacking professionalism.  

Social media can be fun, but it’s also how the rest of the world sees you. Remember this and always be careful about what you post and leave on your feed!  


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