Top 10 social media mistakes that won't get you hired

22/07/2014BY: Tracey Mesken

​How far reaching do you consider your social media activity when it comes to your job or career prospects? If you thought it could potentially ruin a great opportunity would you think differently the next time you posted something?

If a recent survey by CareerBuilder, is anything to go by then perhaps you should keep it in mind as 43% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. Of this, 51% said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire.  Add to this the 45% of employers who also use search engines such as Google to research a candidates’ online presence and it really starts to become hard to hide.

Even if you think you have the most water tight privacy settings on your social media account, there is always a risk that you could end up on the world wide web in a way you could potentially regret. Always keep in mind that social media provides employers a form of informal background check.  It can take you from a hot career prospect to zero very quickly.  To make sure nothing comes back to haunt your career prospects, be sure to avoid these top 10 social media mistakes that cause employers to pass on hiring potential candidates:

  1. Posting provocative or inappropriate photographs or information

  2. Posting information about drinking or drugs

  3. Bad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employee

  4. Poor communication skills (spelling, gammar)

  5. Making discriminatory comments about race, gender, religion etc.

  6. Lying about qualifications

  7. Sharing confidential information from previous employer

  8. Being linked to criminal behaviour

  9. Using an unprofessional screen name

  10. Lying about an absence

Turn your social media profiles into career support tools, using them as a means to showcase all the great reasons an employer would want to hire you. Of course this doesn’t mean turning your Facebook into a wall of boasts and contrived posts, as forced content is as obvious and off putting as bad content. According the same survey, some of the most common reasons employers hire a candidate based on their social networking presence are:

  • They get a good feel for personality and can see a fit with the company culture.

  • Background information supports professional qualifications for the job

  • The page conveys a professional image

  • The candidate appears well-rounded, with a wide range of interests

  • Great communication skills

  • Creativity

  • Awards and accolades

  • Posts from other people

Where once it was drink-texting that led to trouble, it’s social media slip ups that are proving to be major barriers to not just professional, but at times personal progression and development.  Perhaps the best approach then is to remember, if you wouldn’t share it with your family or your boss, don’t share it on social media.