6 social media mistakes that could be damaging your career

Using social media can have a number of benefits for your career. It can help you to showcase your skills, connect with professionals in your industry and find a new job. It can even result in you being headhunted by great companies.

That said, if not used correctly, social media can also have a number of damaging effects on your career too. As such, it’s important that you understand what your online presence says about you.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the social media mistakes that could be damaging your career. Read on to find out more about why you need to avoid these!

1. Posting inappropriate content

One of the biggest social media mistakes that many professionals make is not thinking about the type of content they’re posting.

Whether it’s a picture of you after a few too many beers, or an unkind meme, you need to be careful what you’re sharing online. After all, colleagues, clients or potential/existing employers could find anything you post.

As such, you need to think about what this content says about you. If someone deems it as controversial, hurtful or inappropriate, it might be better keeping these thoughts or images to yourself.

Remember, once something is on the internet, it is out there for everyone to see. Therefore, you need to think twice about what you post or comment on, to avoid any negative implications further down the line.

2. Not making your profiles private

Following on from the above, another mistake you could be making is not setting your social media accounts to private.

The best way to monitor what employers or colleagues are seeing is by turning your privacy settings on. This means they only have access to a limited amount of your information, unless you choose to connect with them at a later date.

This is perhaps most important if you’re searching for a new job. Many recruiters or employers will do an internet search of you before inviting you in for an interview. The last thing you want is for them to reject you because of what you’ve posted online.

So, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make your profiles private.

3. Logging on during work hours

Perhaps something we don’t always consider is the damaging effect social media can have on your career if you log on during work hours.

Not only do you risk your employer becoming frustrated – after all, you’re at work to work – but your productivity could suffer as a result.

This might cause you to fall behind on your workload, not hit your targets or not progress at the pace you should be. This in turn could have a number of problems for your career, potentially costing you a promotion or landing you in hot water with the boss.

4. Exposing your job search

Social media can be a great tool for finding a new job. For example, by using LinkedIn you can showcase your skills and search for advertised roles. You can also use dedicated hashtags to help you find work.

But one mistake that professionals make is using these platforms to look for jobs whilst they’re currently employed. Often, people forget that their boss or colleagues might be able to see their online activity.

If you’re going to use social media to find a new job, you need to be discreet and certainly avoid doing so during work hours.

5. Mocking your clients or colleagues

Many people turn to social media to share their opinions, vent about a frustrating day or chat with their friends. If you choose to do this, you need to be careful about who you’re talking about.

Professionals have in the past fallen victim to bad-mouthing their employer, colleagues or clients online and being found out! This is certainly not going to reflect well on you with existing or potential employers and looks very unprofessional.

These thoughts might be better expressed through private messaging or phone calls with friends. It’s best to avoid posting these online. You never know who’s going to see them.

6. Not making use of social media at all

While there are a number of social media mistakes you can make – it’s just as much of a mistake to neglect this technology altogether.

Always remain cautious and be careful what you share, but be sure to utilise these platforms when searching for a job and when building your professional brand.

You can use social media to connect with professionals in your industry, post interesting content that relevant to your job (especially if this is your own work) and join industry discussions. This will help you to stay on top of the latest trends.

Make sure you avoid these social media mistakes

So while you need to avoid silly mistakes such as sharing inappropriate content online, it would also be a mistake to neglect social media altogether.

The simple solution to ensure you aren’t damaging your career is to always think carefully about what you post online. Before you hit send, ask yourself this ‘would I mind if an employer saw this?’

If the answer is yes, then you probably shouldn’t post it!

About Natashia Larkin

Natashia is a freelance content writer who has written about the employment market for over four years. She has produced articles for a huge range of publications and is passionate about creating unique and engaging content.

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