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Published on March 15, 2021

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Job Search And Your Future Career

How Social Media Can Hurt Your Job Search And Your Future Career
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It may seem that social media is your private network of friends and followers where you’d be able to post and share what’s really on your mind in a given moment. However, this assumption is misleading since these “private” activities of yours are there for everyone to see, including your potential employers.

Studies show that 90% of employers consider the candidate’s social media activity when hiring and 79% of HRs have rejected a candidate because of what they found on their social media.[1] Therefore, it only makes sense to pay attention to our present and past social media activity and not let our social networks harm our professional prospects.

If you are searching for a new job or considering a career change in the future, be aware of these 6 ways how social media can hurt your job search.

1. Having Offensive Posts or Tweets

It’s never a good idea to post disrespectful things, but it’s even more frivolous to do so on your social media accounts. A wise employer will go through your post history scouting for red flags like aggressive tweets, illegal stuff, very unpopular opinions, or badmouthing someone publicly.

Alternatively, you might have posted something that you believed in the past, which you don’t anymore. Or, you may have tweeted something you don’t mean in the heat of an argument.

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The Tweet Deleter app analyzed and summarized over 200M deleted tweets in 2020 in an infographic and found that most deleted tweets contained either profanities or keywords related to race.[2] Giving a better impression to potential employers was one of the top reasons that Tweet Deleter’s surveyed users mentioned for cleaning up their feeds.

To improve your chances of landing the job you want, make sure your past mistakes aren’t still visible on your Facebook or Twitter wall.

2. Posting Controversial Jokes

Sharing jokes and TikTok videos is a favorite pastime for many people these days. If you too love to share funny videos, make sure their content is not dubious or potentially offensive. The most sensitive topics are usually religion and politics. The smartest thing you can do is keep your most contentious opinions (including jokes) to yourself and your closest personal friends.

Remember—even if you didn’t mean for something to be disrespectful, the person reading your profile might not understand your sense of humor or satire. What you share or say online is seen by many people who don’t really know you, so they may not always get it if something is meant to be a joke.

3. Complaining About Your Previous Employers Online

If you’ve had a rough day at work, don’t rush to social media to let off your steam. If a recruiter or your future boss sees that you’ve criticized your employer online (or shared some confidential information about your workplace), they’ll have every reason to think you’d do the same to them if they do hire you.

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Even if you are, in fact, fully justified in your opinions and a client or employer really deserved to be publicly called out, lack of context is the problem here. It’s very difficult to convey the context of the situation on social media like Twitter where you are limited to 280 characters. Without context, you risk simply looking like a bitter employee.

So, next time you need to cry out about your boss, call your best friend or go for a coffee with a supportive colleague instead of bashing it out on social media.

4. Presenting a Negative or Provocative Image of Yourself

Another way social media can hurt your job search is when you create a negative image of yourself online. Social media is the place where you can polish your “personal brand.” Your potential employer (or even your present boss!) might browse your social media profiles to discover who you are outside of your work resume and professional job interview.

Look at your Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram feed with a neutral eye. Have you posted photos from parties with alcohol or other provocative or inappropriate photographs? Ambiguous tweets, instances of oversharing, or even simply being negative about everything could reflect badly on you. 51% of hiring managers admit that they’re checking social networks to see if the candidate will be a good fit with the company culture.[3] If you come off as negative to recruiters, they might decide they don’t want to work with you.

Try to keep your social media image and the content of your posts constructive and positive by sharing your hobbies and interests, being respectful, and presenting yourself as a social and well-balanced personality. Ideally, polish your social accounts (especially LinkedIn) to demonstrate your knowledge in your field of work.

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5. Lying About Your Qualifications

A study by OfficeTeam showed that 38% of senior managers have removed an applicant from consideration for a position after discovering their lies.[4] If you’ve ever thought about spicing up your resume, for example, by giving yourself a higher role in a given company or showing a longer work experience than you actually had, be careful.

It may not seem like upfront lying if you “stretch the truth a little” on your resume or cover letter in an attempt to land a job. However, if you are caught, more than the job at hand is threatened. You may be hired initially and later fired with embarrassment once your lies are revealed, or worse, you could damage your reputation in your professional circles.

Some ways your social media can reveal your lies:

  • Dates don’t add up – If the recruiter has even the slightest doubt, they may call your previous employer, and—oops—you’re busted.
  • Posts don’t match your words – Does your CV say you got laid off a month ago? And there you are two months earlier posting images of sunbathing on a tropical beach somewhere far far away.
  • Your profiles are too vague – Experienced recruiters will see if you’re trying to disguise lack of experience by ambiguous phrases like ‘”I’m familiar with . . .” or “I’ve been involved in . . .” Even if this is not outright lying, expect the interviewer to ask some direct questions about your responsibilities to make sure you actually have the qualifications.

6. Not Having Any Social Media Profiles

You may have chosen to avoid social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for privacy reasons or to reduce your phone usage. If so, consider having a profile at least on LinkedIn as having no social presence at all can harm your prospects.

In this digital world, you are invisible online if you aren’t on any social media. Some employers might not see this as an issue while others might find it suspicious or might consider you to be out-of-date.

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Furthermore, by not having any social presence, you are missing out on a chance to leave a positive impression on your potential employer. Some examples of social media moves that could create a very good impression about you:

  • You’ve connected to your industry professionals, leading experts, or media outlets on Twitter.
  • You’ve updated your LinkedIn profile with your detailed work history and relevant information.
  • You share industry news and discussions and have a solid professional network online.
  • You have a professional-looking or at least neutral profile photo.

Turn Social Media Into Your Strength, Instead of a Liability

Social media can hurt your job search or become an obstacle on the way to your desired career, but it doesn’t have to. In fact, a good social media profile can increase your chances of getting hired!

Besides, even your present employer may be checking your social profiles time after time and dislike something they see. For these reasons, always be mindful of what you post online, what and where you comment, and even who you follow.

More Advice For Job Seekers

Featured photo credit: inlytics | LinkedIn Analytics Tool via unsplash.com

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Ieva Sipola

Ieva helps tech startups access big markets and is a passionate advocate of alternative work formats.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

How to Get Promoted Fast (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Get Promoted Fast (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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“Attitude is altitude,” a famous adage tells us. When it comes to getting promoted fast, maintaining a can-do attitude conquers all. Keeping up a sunny, pleasant professional demeanor will help you win friends and influence Human Resources managers. So will good work hygiene. Show up early, work late, and volunteer for assignments once yours are completed to the best of your ability.

Realize, too, that every office newbie wonders how to get promoted fast. So you are always competing against others at the company for that spot above yours. For this reason, it’s not enough to be a whiz at your given tasks. You also need to be likeable—the type of person whom others want to work with and (ultimately) work for.

Research shows that employees with high emotional intelligence (EI), such as managing relationships, are 75 percent more likely to be promoted than employees with high IQ.[1] Teamwork matters as much as your individual abilities.

Additionally, these 10 steps will help you succeed faster than you dreamed possible.

Craft a Plan for How to Get Promoted

Step 1: Have a Plan

In this world of fast-disappearing mentors, you need to be the architect of your own plan.

Ask others in your field what they did to get promoted and how long it took. Map out a general timeline for your own advancement.

One thing to consider: think of where you want to be five years from now, then work backwards to figure out when you should receive your next promotion.

Step 2: Commit Your Plan to Paper

Studies show that writing down one’s dreams and aspirations helps them happen faster.

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One Saturday when you’re not at the office, take a few hours to capture your plan on paper. Then, separately, pen the tangible steps you believe you need to take to accomplish your dream.

Perhaps you should aim to get into the office at least a half hour earlier than your direct supervisor each day. Or maybe write, “win one piece of new business per year” as your goal. Do you know someone who could throw your company a piece of new business? Consider reaching out to that person.

Step 3: Discuss Your Plan with Your Boss or Direct Supervisor

Performance reviews are a logical time to ask your boss how to get promoted. Bear in mind that any raise you receive may be an indicator of whether you’re perceived to be on the fast track for promotion or on a slower track. (To find out how your raise compares to other workers’ raises, ask around.)

If you already are on the fast track, just keep doing the excellent work you are doing. If you discover that you are on a slower track, it may make sense to first work out with your boss the steps you need to take to get a hefty raise, and from there, make the case for why you deserve a promotion.

Get It in Writing

Step 4: Ask for It in an Email

Did a client commend your public speaking ability? Did your research report exceed your boss’s expectations? Did your colleague profusely thank you for pitching in over the weekend? In the most gracious way, ask that person to send you an email thanking you and to please copy your boss on it.

When it comes to discussing a potential promotion with your boss and the powers-that-be, glowing emails really help bolster your case.

Be sure to bring those emails with you into your performance review meetings. The emails can help you prove you deserve a promotion.

Step 5: Put Any Interim Managerial Tasks in Writing

If you are ever asked to fill in for missing supervisor, ask your boss to write an email to the whole team about the process to be followed.

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This one step will help clear up confusion among your teammates and smooth the way for you to demonstrate your managerial talent. You’ll spend more time managing people and less time trying to manage the process.

The Casual Check-In

Step 6: Check In with Your Boss Now and Then

If you happen to have a boss who gives you a lot of feedback, consider yourself lucky. You will already know how you are doing long before any performance review. You can also use any negative feedback to help you make micro adjustments so that you can bring up your performance before it’s officially rated.

However, if you happen to have a boss who doesn’t offer up much feedback, make it a habit to casually check in with him or her. Wait until a calm moment, knock on the door or cubicle wall, and ask if he has a minute or two. Then, simply sit down and ask what he thought about your contribution to the latest project. (See Step 7.)

But take care. The casual check-in should be used sparingly. Do it too often, and your boss may start to consider you a bit paranoid (and then wonder why you are).

Step 7: Accept All Feedback (Positive and Negative) Gracefully

When you ask your boss for feedback, you will receive it. And you may not always like what you hear.

Maybe you thought your two-minute introduction to the new product launch was phenomenal, but your supervisor found it uninspiring.

Perhaps you thought the client meeting was a smash success, but your client said otherwise after you left the room.

Those who get promoted fast demonstrate an ability to receive positive feedback gracefully and bounce back from negative feedback equally gracefully. Even if you don’t like what you hear, thank your boss for sharing her feedback and promise her that you will work to improve. Then, draft some action steps you will take to keep your promise.

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Solve Problems

Step 8: Remember You’re There to Solve Problems, Not Create Them

Try to be easygoing and flexible. Strive to receive the plum assignments, but realize that everyone in the firm also wants the better assignments. So, be gracious when you receive a terrible assignment, and just do your best to finish it professionally.

If you find yourself with a lot of free time, volunteer for extra work, but be judicious about what you volunteer for. It’s important to be perceived as poised and professional, not desperate and clamoring.

Prove you deserve to be promoted, instead of nagging your associates about how to get promoted.

Step 9: Work Hard

Today, business moves at the speed of technology. It’s important to keep up with technology as it evolves. You may need to take additional classes or get additional certifications and digital badges just to stay ahead of change.

Be the person at your company who embraces change rather than shunning it. Do things the new way, and prove that you love to learn.

By showing your willingness to change with the times, you’ll prove that you’re an employee who’s worth keeping around.

Invest your time in learning about the business, your company, and your clients, and your investment may well pay off in a promotion.

It’s Not Just What You Know

Step 10: Get Along with Everyone

Bosses tend to promote those whom they like faster than others on staff—regardless of their talent level.

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So first and foremost: get along with your boss. But don’t kiss up because that will make your coworkers turn against you.

Strive to be known for being nice to all, fair to all, and coming up with creative solutions to problems.

To boost your popularity, try to attend some of the outings, all of the office parties, and as many office showers and office birthday celebrations as you can without sacrificing your work product. Occasionally offer to organize one of these events if you have the time.

Getting along with everyone is one is a surefire way to get ahead and be promoted faster.

The Bottom Line

To get promoted faster, it’s important to understand that ambition coupled with camaraderie wins.

When your supervisor notices that you take criticism well and learn from mistakes, and that you keep emotions in check and get along well with others, you will earn respect.

The most important mantra for those who long to get ahead: be professional.

Solve problems, so that you can be promoted to tackle and solve even bigger problems.

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Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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