Don’t underestimate the power of social media. When people Google your name, Twitter and Facebook posts are liable to come up, and even if you’re happy with your current job, and you’re not looking for something new, there may come a time when you are interviewing and putting yourself out there, and you’ll want the cleanest digital footprint possible.
All the more reason to read things like Robin Madell’s recent U.S. News & World Report post “The 3 Biggest Social Media Snafus That Can Cost You the Job.” Madell has worked as a writer and consultant for more than 20 years, and she knows all about the current digital landscape. The first mistake she warns against is “careless posting,” and this doesn’t just mean avoiding topics like sex and drugs. You should also proofread your profiles and posts, as 66 percent of the recruiters taking part in Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey said they reconsidered candidates for jobs due to spelling and grammar mistakes.
Next on Madell’s no-no list: venting about bosses or colleagues, even if you no longer work with them. By taking your frustrations onto the Internet, you risk coming across as someone who spreads negativity and hurts morale. And again, don’t think people won’t see what you’re writing. As Ruby Media Group president Kris Ruby tells Madell, most bosses are more media savvy than you realize, and even if they’re not, they’ve got people working for them who know what’s what.
“Most companies have a zero-tolerance policy toward this that will lead to immediate termination,” Ruby warns.
Lastly, Madell cautions against failure to “take control of your digital identity.” According to Jennifer Lee Magas, vice president at Magas Media Consultants LLC, you’re your own brand. That means not only adjusting privacy settings to keep certain information from reaching everyone, but also not relying solely on those settings to protect you.
“Remove every potential inappropriate post or picture,” says Magas, “and always keep language and grammar in mind.”