A simple search by a recruiter or prospective employer can pull up all your social media profiles — your blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, FourSquare… You get the picture. Within a matter of minutes they’ve got a solid glimpse into your life; and they may not always like what they see. It’s not a matter of how many friends you have on Facebook or how many Twitter followers you have amassed, but what you post. Inappropriate photos, derogatory remarks and even spelling or grammatical errors can leave a bad impression.
Here’s five tips on how to avoid serious Social Media profile fails that could stall your career.
1) Watch out for Facebook folly. Unfortunate photos posted online have lost athletes major endorsements, embarrassed the British Royal Family, and run politicians out of office. Very simply, don’t post embarrassing or inappropriate photos. Even if you delete them, someone may eventually be able to dig them out of an internet archive. Remove tags or postings by friends that may be funny, but aren’t professional. Make sure your Facebook Privacy Settings have got you covered and limit who your photos can be shared with.
2) You are what you tweet. How much trouble can you get into with 140 characters? Surprisingly, a lot. So be careful about what you say. There are numerous examples of people who have lost their jobs because of a few poorly chosen words. Avoid rude comments, derogatory remarks, profanity, offensive jokes and making light of world tragedies.
3) Coming soon — a downloadable list of tweets. A recent post in Mashable suggests that curated Tweets will be downloadable by the end of this year. If you can download a record of your Tweets, so can potential employers and recruiters. Want to say something nasty? Phone a friend!
4) What is Google saying about me today? Google yourself regularly. Keep all your social media profiles up to date and if you see something you don’t like, figure out how to remove it. Make sure the positive things you’re doing get noticed as well by blogging about your volunteering efforts, organising fundraising events, running a marathon, travelling to foreign countries to donate your time and skills.
5) Develop a split personality with your Social Media profiles. It can be a good idea to create separate professional and personal profiles. For your personal one, use a different display name and set your profile settings to private. If a potential employer manages to stumble onto it, they won’t see anything that might reflect badly on you. But even though it’s private, still be careful about what you post there.
Your online presence paints a picture of who you are to the world — just make sure it’s what you want your employers to see.
Nicola Connolly is the general director for The Adecco Group’s operations in Vietnam and is based in Ho Chi Minh City. The Adecco Group, headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, is the world’s leading provider of HR Solution Services