5 things not to do on social media if you’re looking for a job

Bless me Father for I have social sinned. 

There are no innocents; if you have at least one account, you’re a social sinner. What’s an embarrassing photo or rant-filled update between friends, right? Wrong. 

According to the Society of Human Resources Management, 77% of employers are using social media for recruiting. If you’re job hunting or plan to in the next 12-24 months this is the stuff of nightmares and could make your career plans DOA. However, it doesn’t have to be. You can redeem yourself and absolve your social sins, but first you need to identify them.

Social Sin #1: Oversharing

Thou shalt not overshare is very social media 101, but it bears repeating. (So I will.) Do not overshare on any social network. Once limited to embarrassing photos and stories about…ahem…unprofessional times, oversharing includes just about anything that could turn off a potential employer. Excessive posting and retweeting of memes; rants about politics; venting about clients, current, and former employers; diapers and what’s in them; or anything that makes you look like a tramp, a lush, or incompetent⎯these are all examples of oversharing.

Employers think: Anything. From your whack-a-doodle ideas of what really happened to that Malaysian plane to conflicting ideas about politics, oversharing allows an employer to make a snap judgment about you before you’ve even landed the interview.

Social Redemption: Let your personality shine in your updates. Running in a 5K for charity? ‘Gram it. Anecdote about Grandma who just learned how to tweet? Post it. Your timeline should resemble the most interesting and best parts of you. Remember, just like in face-to-face conversation, no discussing politics, religion, or conspiracy theories.

Social Sin #2: Ignoring privacy settings

The wedding was amazing. The bride was beautiful. That’s all you remember. Luckily someone photographed the entire reception and tagged your shot-drinking-breakdancing-dress-hiked-up moments. Now your name is attached to at least a dozen embarrassing photos. Tagging⎯it’s the modern-day social nightmare.

Employers think: You’re careless. And your worm needs better form.

Social Redemption: Untag. Untag. Untag. Adjust your Facebook settings so no one can tag you in their photos (https://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150325768080392). Want to vent about your lazy sister or retweet the Backstreet Boys constantly? Set up a private Twitter account and use a pseudonym. Really love photos of Ryan Gosling? Pinterest private boards are calling your name.

Social Sin #3: Being inconsistent

Twitter is great for short philosophical bursts. Instagram really shows off your shoe fetish. Unless you link accounts, it’s hard to be completely consistent on social media. One place you need to be consistent: LinkedIn. Considered the holy grail of social media recruiting, your experience and skills should match your formal resume.

Employers think: You lack attention to detail or you’re embellishing your resume.

Social Redemption: Just like your formal resume, touch up your LinkedIn profile on a regular basis. Also, endorsing your connections for skills brings good karma and often reciprocation.

Social Sin #4: Using improper grammar and spelling

U R sooooo bsted. Nothing makes potential employers cringe more than reading an update in your timeline with abbreviated spelling, misspellings, and missing punctuation. Take the extra 15 seconds to type out the proper word. And take the extra 30 seconds to read your post. 

Employers think: You’re unprofessional. Or you’re 13.

Social Redemption: Read and proof everything you post. If you make a mistake in a post, either edit it or delete and start over.

Social Sin #5: Keep games and quizzes off your feed 

The job search is a job within itself and recruiters recommend you spend at least 30 hours a week writing resumes and cover letters. While it’s likely you’ll have some online downtime, resist the urge to play games, take quizzes, and share it all on Facebook. This goes double in begging your friends for more Candy Crush lives. All downtime activities live on your timeline, with dates and times posted. A potential employer reviewing your social status sees a candidate who’s not serious about the job search. 

Employers think: You’re not productive. 

Social Redemption: Just say no to Facebook games and BuzzFeed quizzes. Spend downtime reading a book or blog related to your field. If/when you land an interview, this new knowledge could make you the preferred candidate.

One more thing: Remove any of the above sins from previous posts. Employers will likely review the last couple of years’ worth of updates, and possibly more. 

About Socialty:

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Socialty is a full-service social media marketing and social recruiting agency in Chicago.  We create content, websites, blog posts, email marketing and strategic marketing plans for small and medium size businesses. Our social recruiting team helps you attract talented candidates via social media outlets.  Socialty connects you to your audience and potential employees.  We'll keep you social while you carry on with your business.  Keep Social and Carry On!