10 Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media While Job Hunting

Looking for a new job can be a particularly frustrating time, especially if you keep finding something that suits you down to a tee only to get knocked back by the employer because you don’t meet their criteria or because there was “someone more suited to the position” in the interviews.

In the modern era, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, and even LinkedIn to some extent, have become great platforms for showcasing your talents and letting people know that you’re looking for a job and in what industry. For example, “wannabe” writers might tweet their latest blog in a hope that potential employers will see their work and like what they see enough to offer them an interview at the very least.

They also prove a great way to stay in touch with old friends who might be able to inform you of any positions that they see that might interest you – possibly within the company they work for – and they could put you in touch with the right people in order to apply.

However, social networks also prove to be a place where people rant about their rubbish day or how they’ve been rejected by a company they “didn’t want to work for anyway”, and also give people a chance to say what they really think about certain subjects. While this is all great in terms of freedom of speech and getting things off our chest, it’s been proven that more than 60% of potential employers actually look on social networking sites to find out more information about their applicants and make decisions about the progression of their application according to what they see.

Drunken holiday snaps, University pictures while you’re dressed up as a Smurf and other potentially harmful postings can affect your chances of getting an interview, let alone a job. To help you out with your application for any position, here are ten mistakes that you should avoid making on social networking sites to help you nail the job you want – and to keep hold of it if you’re offered a position.

  • Mentioning a new job or interview

The first mistake to avoid is actually mentioning that you’ve got yourself an interview or a new job. A fine example to use here relates to an employee who was offered a job with Cisco. They took to Twitter and mentioned that they had to “weigh up the pros and cons of a fat pay cheque against hating the work”, something an employee at the company saw and mentioned to the management. The individual subsequently saw their offer taken away. The lesson here is to steer clear of talking about interviews and new positions until you’re in the job as “competition” might see that there is a position available too and steal it from under you – or, don’t talk about work at all unless it’s positive!

  • Consider your profile pictures

With employers monitoring your social activity, it makes sense to keep your profile picture relatively professional. Your current image might be of you and your friends dressed up on a stag weekend which – while being a great photo – might be viewed negatively by your potential employers.

  • Update your privacy settings

Sites such as Facebook and Twitter allow users to change their privacy settings so that certain people can and cannot see what they’re doing or their photos. If you don’t want your bosses to see pictures of you dressed up at University, make sure you lock your photos!

  • Don’t EVER skip work – and get caught!

We’ve all been tempted to “pull a sicky” in our time, just to give ourselves a day off for a rest or to get things done and – in some cases – because we’re genuinely unwell. However, if you do decide to phone in and claim to be unwell, don’t then go out and get caught in the bakers in town buying a sandwich around lunchtime when colleagues might walk in, and definitely don’t go out that night and have photographs taken! Many employees have been caught out by time-stamped photos showing them out on the town and clearly very healthy and having them published on Facebook or Twitter, only to go back to work and get called into an urgent meeting with the bosses!

  • Don’t be critical of your working conditions

Complaining about the hours you’re working each week, the wages you’re on or the fact that you’re “dreading going back to work tomorrow morning” is common, but bare in mind that your working conditions are protected under labour law as any criticism about how tasks are performed can be seen as defamatory against the company. The best tip I could give is to have a private conversation with your superiors, rather than taking to the net.

  • Don’t declare your boredom!

You might be stuck in a job you’re not enjoying or tasked with the worst jobs in the office, but don’t take to Facebook or Twitter to complain about how bored you are. A very common Tweet or status is “Only Wednesday? This week is dragging”, and while this might refer to the fact you have an exciting weekend planned, your employer might perceive this to mean that you hate your job and they subsequently relieve you of your “mundane” duties – permanently.

  • Avoid potentially risqué remarks

Having driven in to work that morning you might have heard a contentious news story on the radio and you’ve felt the need to give your opinion it. This could cause arguments within the workplace – or externally – and this could reflect poorly upon the company itself. As a rule – both inside and outside the workplace in fact – avoid giving overly contentious views on topics such as race, gender, sexuality or disasters.

  • Don’t be critical of previous employers

You might be leaving your previous role for a number of reasons. Whatever the truth behind your departure may be, don’t be overly critical or defamatory with your remarks. “I hated working for company X, so glad I’ve got a new job” is an example of something that might be viewed negatively, and your previous employer might come to you or your new employer with a complaint.

  • NEVER complain about clients

Possibly the most important point to make in this whole ten-point guide – never complain about or “bad-mouth” your clients or customers. Your employers value their customers and no matter how much you may dislike the person or people you have to deal with personally, that company pays your wages and helps to keep the company ticking over. If that client or customer sees your comments somehow – they might look for your company on social networks the way employers look for you – they may choose to cease doing business with you and take their business elsewhere.

  • NEVER criticize your employers

Almost on a par with complaining about clients, is complaining about your employers themselves. “Argh I hate my boss” is a very common status or Tweet that can result in disciplinary hearings. If you have ANY issue with your superiors or colleagues, make sure that you arrange to have a civil discussion with them face to face to iron out your differences and to avoid any disciplinary action.

All of the above pointers can refer to your application for literally any position available. You might be looking for office or secretarial jobs maybe a driving position or even a job as a gardener on behalf of an estate. Whatever the position may be – think before you

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