Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

Social Media May Sabotage Your Career or Job Search

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Social Faux Pas

Social media slip-ups can cause a disaster.

Sooner or later, most of us will experience some sort of social disaster via Facebook or Twitter – posting an angry update that we regret, getting tagged in a compromising photo. It happens.

But can social media slip-ups cause a professional disaster too? Here are a few tips on how to make sure they don’t.

While you’re looking for a job

Know Your Security Settings

Granted, checking your tweets isn’t as common as checking your references, but some employers will look you up online. With Facebook and Twitter, you can adjust your settings to tighten up who can view your profile.

Post a Professional Profile Picture

A picture is worth a thousand words, and an unprofessional profile picture could earn you the words “We’ve offered the position to another candidate.” Even if your Facebook security settings are maxed, employers may still see your profile picture. So keep it professional. You don’t have to be wearing a power suit, but choose a picture where you’re smiling. Nothing with a drink or smoke in your hand.

Watch Your Updates

Either change your settings to “private” or be really careful of what you say. If your would-be boss sees that you tweeted “Another damn interview. I don’t even want this job,” that doesn’t look great for you. Yes, keeping your updates professional can be boring, but so is writing cover letters for another 2 weeks.

Live Two Lives

Some people set up two accounts: One profile is for “friend-me” and has tight security settings, while another profile is for “job-me” and has more relaxed settings. This way, if an employer googles you, they will find the work-friendly profile. This can work as an extra step, but shouldn’t replace any of the other steps mentioned here.

When you have a job

Choose Your Friends Wisely

Even though you see your social media profile as your personal space, it spills into your professional life too; like it or not. We all have things we’d rather not have our boss know. As soon as a coworker adds or follows you, they become a portal from your boss to that information.

Again, Watch Your Updates

Be smart. If you call in sick on Friday, don’t post “off to the cottage, woot woot” that morning. It may seem like common sense, but you would be amazed how many people have been busted.

Don’t Trash Your Boss or Coworkers Online

We’re sure you would never, ever, do this, right? Remember, even if the person you’re ranting about isn’t on your friend-list, a friend of a friend can still make sure they know.

Be Your Own Editor

You can control what you post, but you have to stay on top of your friends’ updates, comments, photos, and videos. They can get you in trouble too. If something compromising or unprofessional has you tagged in it, make sure it’s taken down before it spreads beyond your control.

Ryan Leclaire
Author: Ryan Leclaire
Ryan has been writing for 7 years and has been featured in Chatelaine, Canadian Living and Cottage life.
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