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Have you had a good look at your social media profile recently? What is the first impression you get from it?

My point is this:

Now more than ever, hiring managers are combing through your social media networks to get a glimpse of who you really are.

“Before I hire someone I always search Google for them. What does their profile tell me? Lots …” – Katrina Mackinnon, Founder, Small Revolution

What this means is that even before you land that interview, your prospective employer will have formed an opinion about you. Thanks to your social media presence. And if negative, what are the odds that your resume will be tossed aside?

So, let’s dive in and discover social media mistakes that could be costing you your dream job. And how to change that and snag a job.

Eager to learn? Let’s get started…

1. Being Off the Social Media Radar

Yes, social media is a two-edged sword. It will either make or break your online professional image. But, being off the radar will add nothing to your resume.

Employers will wonder if you are really keeping up with the latest technology trends. Or, whether you have something to hide.

So, don’t even think of deactivating or wiping clean your social media accounts. Aim for a reputable social media presence.

2. Outdated Profile Information

You can only sell yourself short with an outdated Facebook, LinkedIn, Xing or any other social media profile.

Therefore, always keep your contact information, projects, skills, and knowledge updated besides displaying a decent profile photo.

Sync offline resume and social media account details. They shouldn’t have any discrepancies. Pay attention to dates. Otherwise, you may appear untrustworthy or not keen on details.

Don’t leave your profile page open to strangers: Update your privacy settings regularly. Ensure that you are keeping your profile protected against strangers. While at it, confidential information such as date of birth, home address, and personal telephone numbers should be kept private.

3. Lacking Good Communication Behaviour

Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble. – Yehuda Berg

Mind Your Language. Avoid writing poorly spelt tweets and postings with grammatical errors. It makes you look careless and sloppy. And typos irk employers.

Write grammatically correct sentences, on your social media posts.

Moreover, keep off racial slur and sexual references on your social media posts.

Posting during work hours. In truth, it’s not just what you post but when you post. Therefore, resist posting on social media accounts during working hours. It portrays you as an undisciplined, time-wasting person.

Connecting too soon. There’s a thin line between doing an enthusiastic research on your prospective company and being a stalker. Don’t go stalking the hiring manager’s social media accounts and even sending friend or connection requests. The right time to do this is after you’ve been hired.

Reference images correctly. As a true professional, if you’ve taken images from another online source, be sure to reference them appropriately.

4. Posting Inappropriate Material

Showing too much skin: You may get many likes from your friends and peers when you post skimpy photos but think again, will a prospective employer have the same reaction? Not so much! How about your grandmother? Therefore, restrain from posting indecent photos on social media.

Posting pictures of or talking about marijuana: Besides it being an illegal substance, any association with marijuana will make employers quickly skip your profile.

Embarrassing tags: Are your friends tagging you inappropriate photos and content? Clean it up before it costs you your next job. And that includes PG-13 post comments.

Excessive partying and alcohol consumption: Resist from posting those photos that have you looking as high as a kite, red eyes popping, and a beer bottle at hand. You will only turn off potential employers. Who would want to hire a drunkard? A potential employer will just toss aside your perfect resume.

5. Don’t Be a Loud Mouth

Political rants: Are you the first person to run to social media to rant about any political issue? It’s wise to keep your opinions to yourself or discuss them offline instead of showing yourself to the world as a cranky critic who has to take things off his chest using social media.

Showing off wealth and big purchases: So, you want to be the envy of your social media followers? Are you always posting your latest acquisitions, holiday trips, and among life’s achievements?

Besides being distasteful, it portrays you as a rather immature person. Keep your accomplishments low key, you don’t have to keep the world up to the speed of your financial status.

Negative content about past employers and colleagues: Don’t air your dirty laundry on social media. Especially when it comes to previous or current employers. A prospective employer will wonder if you really are capable of handling matters professionally. Bashing or tweeting about it is a no.

What to Do?

Relax, it’s not all gloom and doom. Social media is a fantastic platform that lets you express yourself and showcase your unique personality.

All you have to do is to apply the best social media practices that will portray you in a positive manner.

Here are a few tips to start you off:

Share your blog: Sharing your blog posts on your social media channels will give you a competitive advantage. Employers will be thrilled to learn that you use your time well. Just ensure that the content is good.

Share your hobbies and interests: Don’t pass out as a boring person. Share relevant content to what you’re passionate about. It can be anything – soccer, yoga, dancing, cooking club, and much more.

Write properly: Don’t get caught slacking on your grammar and English. Not even on social media.

Be interesting: Social media is your stage, be interesting. Stand out from ‘the crowd. Thou shalt not bore people.

Embrace video: want to leave a lasting impression? Head over to YouTube and create your channel. It’s a really fantastic way to showcase yourself.

Now Go and Chase Those Dreams

Now you know what can and can’t scare off prospective employers, right? So, what are you waiting for? Head over to your social media channels and make them shine.

Then, head over to a dedicated job board. Complete your resume. Browse jobs, apply, and snag your dream job!

Photo: Freepik


I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of McKinnon Group and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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