Don’t Make These Mistakes on Social Media – It Could Ruin Your Career

© Provided by CNBC
© Provided by CNBC

“Don’t be an idiot online,” warns Jon Acuff, author of “Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck.” “The digital bridges you burn, you burn forever.” 

Seems like simple enough advice, doesn’t it? But it’s surprising how often it goes unheeded—particularly when it comes to posting personal photos and comments that could have professional implications.

There’s the Taco Bell employee who took a photo of himself licking a stack of taco shells, then posted it on Facebook. Or the bank intern who emailed his boss saying he had to skip work because “something came up at home,” then appeared in a Halloween party photo dressed as what looked like Tinkerbell. (His boss famously attached a copy of the photo in his response to the intern, adding “cool wand,” and copied his colleagues.) Then there’s the job seeker who took to Quora to ask for advice on whether to take a job with the ride-sharing company Uber or the automated human resources company Zenefits—both of which had made offers. When the asker listed as a “con” of Zenefits the fact that it “isn’t a buzzword like Uber,” the CEO of the start-up answered in the comments that he was rescinding the job offer.

The social media mistakes that most people make aren’t as extreme, but the results can be just as disastrous. Before you hit “post” again, keep these tips in mind.

Remember what’s public is public

It’s called social media for a reason. Even if you have privacy settings in place, your posts are social and they can be shared. “Ultimately, your social media is your resume,” said Acuff. So pay close attention to your tweets, photos and posted comments, particularly if you’re job hunting. A recent survey by recruiting platform Jobvite found 93 percent of recruiterscheck out social media profiles of prospective hires before extending an offer.

When looking for a job, Andy Challenger, vice president at Challenger, Gray and Christmas, said the goal with social media boils down to one objective: “paving the way for a face-to-face introduction.”

That’s not to say that you can’t post a picture of you having a drink with friends on Facebook, but ask yourself whether it might reflect badly on you if a recruiter were to see it. A photo of you toasting a friend’s promotion might be fine, but one in which you’ve clearly had a few drinks might lead a recruiter to question your judgment.

Acuff also warns against being too outspoken about your views, whether you’re sounding off on politics, religion or your former or current employer —something you definitely want to avoid. Acuff said he’s seen multiple cases in which a misguided tweet or post hurts someone’s job opportunities, and recalls a public speaker he knows who made fun of a commercial of a national brand and lost his job because of it.

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Source: CNBC | Landon Dowdy

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