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Social media has already become an important factor in the job-seeking process today. The profiles of candidates on networks like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter offer unprecedented insight into their life. By looking at posts, comments, and photos, one can easily determine the personality of the profile owner.

So, this raises an interesting question: can you be yourself on social media while looking for a job?

Well, you sure can but you also need to be aware of behaviors and qualities employees commonly seek in candidates. These behaviors, of course, do not include showing your latest tattoo and showing yourself in an impaired state. Also, inappropriate comments, as fun as they might be, are not appreciated as well.

Did you know that one-third of employers who review social media profiles reported finding content that has caused them not to hire a person?

Let’s review common social media mistakes that can really hurt your job search.

1. Misleading Information

If you’re using social media, chances are you have more than one profile (more than 40 per cent of all users do). Let’s suppose your accounts on LinkedIn and Facebook have different information about yourself for some reason. For example, you did not want to share something on LinkedIn but you’re comfortable with it being on Facebook.

For recruiters, different information creates confusion. They can perceive it as misleading and continue to keep looking for other candidates.

The Solution: if you have multiple social media accounts, ensure they have the same information. When recruiters compare them, they will be more confident in its authenticity.

2. Sharing Corporate Information from a Previous Job

This one will hurt your job hunting is a great way because sharing corporate information is a no-no. Where is the guarantee that you don’t try to do the same again? There isn’t, so your candidacy will be immediately rejected without any consideration. No company wants whistleblowers.

The Solution: if you possess some corporate information from your previous job, refrain from posting it on social media. It might seriously reduce your chances to get a good job because it’s totally unprofessional.

3. Plagiarized Personal Information

You’ve been browsing LinkedIn and found a profile of a person from your industry with an excellent summary and other information that you can really use. The temptation to copy some parts of the text can be great because you want your profile to be just as impressive.

Should you try and copy something?

Social Media Sharing

There are more than 500 million members on LinkedIn, will someone even notice? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. The modern recruitment process is highly sophisticated and many companies can easily spot plagiarized information even without specialized software.

The Solution: write an authentic resume on LinkedIn and refrain from copying someone else’s regardless of how great it is. The same rule applies to other content you post. If you’re quoting an article, make sure to cite the author. Posting a beautiful photo? Give the photographer all the credit. All in all, make it as memorable and unique as your college papers you wrote being a student.

4. Complaints about Previous Boss or Colleagues

This one falls into the “inappropriate comments” category. Writing comments on social mediafor the world to see is often a bad idea, especially in case if you want to say something nasty about your former boss or colleague.

Even a negative comment about a professor who gave a low grade for your kids can be interpreted the same way. Thinking that the posts are safe because of privacy settings is also a bad idea because you never know who will see them.

Even if the person you’ve complained about did not see the comment, others can easily forward it to them. As a result, a hot exchange of comments and messages can occur. If these comments are seen by your potential employer, you’re history. What is the point of having an employee who badmouths colleagues and bosses?

The Solution: Don’t put any complaints out there. Even if they don’t hurt your job search immediately, they can come back to haunt you later.

5. Mocking Customers

This mistake is similar to complaining and it can have a profound effect on the decision to hire you. The simplest example of people mocking customers involves waiters taking images of poor tips and uploading them to social media. By doing so, they perfectly illustrate their work ethic and show their company in a very bad light.

The recruiters who come across posts like this will not consider these candidates. Obviously, employers want their personnel to respect customers, not mock them.

The Solution: even if you’re having a bad day on your job because of the customers, don’t take your anger to social media. Posting these complaints will only hurt your chances to find another job.


Written By
Diana Clark has gone a long path from being a recruiter to a successful career counselor. Diana provides career advising for job seekers and career professionals.

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