Walter-Colgan
February 26, 2013 by Walter Colgan

It seems we have become so accustomed to sharing and receiving every thought, activity and image with the social media masses that we can become desensitized to its effect. When you lose sight of who is watching, the perception you provide of yourself online can have a very negative impact, especially on your career. For a job candidate, finding that next professional opportunity is challenging enough without having your character called into question by potential employers. To increase your odds of getting hired, avoid these five social media mistakes:

1. Profiles without Privacy Settings
Although it is not a fool-proof plan, the first method in safeguarding against roaming eyes on the web is to establish privacy settings. This will enable you to determine what elements of your personal information get seen by which viewers. The best method is to keep your profile within your network of friends and family only.

2. Inappropriate Photos
Unsuitable images are a major mishap on the web. Once they are posted online, either by you or someone else, it is very difficult to control where they end up or who can view them. This is another area where privacy settings come in handy. Facebook allows you to approve images where others have requesting to tag you in their photos. But be forewarned! A simple Google search can still provide a potential employer with enough images of you to draw their own conclusions.

3. Unbridled Tongue
Social Media is a breeding ground for humorous material. It is a terrific platform for become an internet sensation by sharing your hilarious cat videos, but not the best space to share inappropriate, offensive or mean-spirited humor that could cost you your professional reputation and the respect of others. Also remember, what seems like a private joke among friends, once online, can become devastating public very quickly…

4. Criticizing Employers
Many find it cathartic to use their social media platforms as a method to vent their frustrations in life. Although you might find comfort in publically commiserating with others, when it comes to criticizing current or past employers, just don’t do it! Instead, pick up a new hobby, plan a vacation or visit a happy hour or two. But keep your negative comments about work, offline and away from the eyes of potential probing employers.

5. LinkedIn Endorsements From Strangers
Having a LinkedIn account is a very useful tool that many job candidates and employers take advantage of. But if you are requesting endorsements and recommendations from strangers, beware! This could backfire. If you are choosing someone to speak to your credibility and potential as a professional, make sure they have actually had the experience working with you to speak of.

What other social media blunders have you witnessed online lately?

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