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4 Social Media Mistakes that Scare Away Potential Employers


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Around 71 percent of people making hiring decisions say they consider the applicant’s social media presence a good way to screen potential employees, according to a 2020 survey from The Harris Poll and Express Employment Professionals. Roughly the same percentage (70 percent) think that employers should screen every applicant’s social media profiles, according to the same survey.

Around 67 percent of those surveyed say they use social networking sites such as LinkedIn for job candidate research. Since many employers look closely at applicants’ social media presence, it’s not surprising that certain posts on social media can slam the door to employment opportunities.

If you’re searching for a new job, stay away from these four social media habits that can scare away potential employers.

1. Using Facebook as a diary

Oversharing on Facebook is never a good idea, no matter how much you may need to vent about troubles or situations in your life. One reason using Facebook as your daily diary is a bad idea is that if you haven’t restricted access to your page to only approved “friends,” your posts can be viewed by anyone who comes across your Facebook page.

Do you really want a potential employer knowing that you’re struggling emotionally because you’re going through a divorce or you’ve racked up thousands of dollars in credit card debt you can’t pay off? Just because others post this kind of personal information on social media doesn’t mean you should jump on the oversharing bandwagon.

Potential employers who view your page aren’t likely to hire someone who might miss work due to emotional turmoil or steal money to solve financial problems. So, keep your personal problems off Facebook, at least while you’re looking for a job.

Find out: 7 Tips for Staying Focused on Your Job Search

2. Ranting about politics

If you’re posting rants or voicing strong opinions about the recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, gun control, the January 6 hearings or political candidates, it’s almost certain that your posts will offend someone, including a potential employer. Remember, you’re not the only one out there with strong opinions.

So, if you’re looking for a job,  don’t risk putting off an employer whose views may be different from your own by posting heated rants and memes you find clever but others may find offensive.

Besides, your political posts aren’t going to swing any political outcome or change the law. If you’re passionate about your political beliefs, instead of ranting on social media, volunteer for an organization that’s working to effect change in the direction you prefer.

Find out: How to Spot Fake Job Listings Posted by Cybercriminals

3. Being negative

Look, we’re all at least a little cranky these days. Gas, groceries and other living expenses are sky high. We’re constantly bombarded with negative political ads, and that’s only going to get worse as we near the 2024 presidential election. Plus, we still have to deal with all kinds of everyday annoyances.

It may be tempting to let off steam about lousy drivers, poor customer service, the guy who never mows your grass right or how you’ve finally given up on love. Don’t go there, though. The last thing a potential employer wants is a toxic complainer who sees the worst in every situation.

4. Slamming current or former employers

Do you think your boss is a narcissistic jerk who makes your life hell? Maybe the company you used to work for was a disorganized mess with poor management.

But posting details about job dissatisfaction on your social media page only makes you look like a whiner with a bad attitude. Potential employers who see your vitriolic posts will likely fear that if they hire you, you’ll post  gripes about them on social media, too.

Find out: 4 Steps to Take Before “Rage Quitting” a Job

What you should do

Now that you know what not to do, here are a few tips on getting it right…

  • Choose the right social networks: Not all social networks are ideal for job hunting. Wyche recommends LinkedIn and TheLadders. If you’re a senior-level job seeker, try BlueSteps.
  • Don’t rely on security preferences: Facebook’s ever-changing security rules might not keep your photos and posts hidden.
  • Clean up your act: Recruiters are likely to search through your profiles, not just read your current posts. Spend an afternoon scanning your history and deleting anything questionable.
  • Keep your resume up-to-date: If you have your resume online, add the link to your Twitter account.
  • Talk to people: Sites like LinkedIn are a great networking tool, and most people are surprisingly approachable. If you’re dreaming of working at a particular company, find someone who works there and ask them about it.
  • Post often: The more you share, retweet and post, the more people you’ll connect with, and that can lead to some big career moves.
  • Don’t stop after the interview: Many interviewers check out social networking profiles after interviewing someone. So keep posting – responsibly.

Take steps to secure social media privacy

If you haven’t adjusted your privacy settings on Facebook or other social media platforms, anyone can see your page, along with your opinions and posts. Since many employers use applicants’ social media pages to vet potential employees, they’re likely to head straight for your Facebook, Instagram or other social media accounts and profiles.

Adjust privacy settings on Facebook and other applicable social media platforms so only people you’ve approved as friends or connections can see your posts. That way, you won’t risk potential employers being put off by your opinions and posts.

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