"How can I use the world of Twitter, Facebook, and the like to get ahead?" is the question many job hopefuls are asking. Sites such as Flickr and DeviantART are great ways for photographs and artists, respectively to show off their talent without preparing or passing out expensive portfolios. However, another question you should be asking is: “How can I prevent myself from making mistakes on social media that will sink me?"
To help in your quest, we gave gathered the ten worst social media mistakes that will prevent you from landing a job. We all know not to post– or even take – pics of yourself in Nazi attire, although it still happens. These mistakes can land you in court, get you divorce papers, or prevent your dream job from coming true. If you already know the basics of social etiquette, the below might have something new for you.
1. Don’t Be That Guy : We all have at least one social media friend who shares him or herself too much. Things like realtors putting up each new listing, every sale a business has, or constant reminders on the same event can be as off putting to an employer as it is to a friend. If using your social media account to promote your work, be thoughtful of other people’s time. Chris Brogan has an excellent rule of one promotional update for every 15 casual ones. Check out his blog for more useful moves.
2. Use it or Lose It : Twitter and other sites, are essentially a blank canvas. Don’t let them go to waste by using the same backgrounds and graphics as anyone else. Use the opportunity to showcase photos, art, events, logos, and anything else that will make you stand out. Mashable has a great guide on how and why to create a custom Twitter background. For inspiration, click here to see many successful attempts at creating memorable, yet simple backgrounds.
3. You Can Have Too Many Friends : Too many friends and followers actually can be a bad thing. While real people with real accounts are a plus, the more popular an application becomes, the more likely it is to be subject to hacking. Both Facebook and Twitter have had troubles with phishing such as Zombie and Twply. Gullibility does not make you attractive to an employer. Better to have 100 actual friends/followers, than 200 phony ones, both in social media and IRL.
4. Don’t Down the Updates : So you just got a new gadget and it rocks? Or was the sushi overpriced and stale? Did your kid just do the cutest thing? Now think about if a potential employer wants to read every detail about the above. While short, incisive updates are appreciated and even admired, they can also do the opposite. Have a look at this list to see the worst status updates and delete them before they prevent you from landing a job.
5. Sir Mix-A-Little : With social media becoming more and more popular, you likely have more than one account. While there is nothing wrong with having a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn account all at once, mixing them can be a problem. In an amazingly well thought out article, Nicky Jameson discusses the pitfalls of mixing social media business and pleasure. If still unsure, check out #10 on this list.
6. Too Little of a Good Thing : Now that you have social media account and know how not to update too much, don’t go the other route. Too few updates can show lack of commitment and general spazziness. Updates that come once a month, or even once a week, can be too few. However, with loads to do and little time to do it in, updates can be challenging. Visit this link to get a guide to FeedMyTwitter. It can auto post pre-written updates on the date, category, and more of your choosing.
7. Drive a Manual : Automatic DM’s may be useful to some people when used correctly, but a misstep can hurt those looking to avoid mistakes. If a prospective employer has the courtesy to follow or friend you, thank them properly. A generic “thank you" is just as insulting as it sounds. Write one yourself, make it personal, and stand out just a little more. This site shows you how to disable Auto DM on Twitter.
8. Spelling Isn’t Just for Bees : Yes, it’s social media and, yes, there is a certain sense of informality. However, especially if going for a writing or editing job, any spelling or grammar mistake can prevent you from landing it. If your browser has a spell check, use it. Even if it does, don’t turn the spell check in your noggin off even if you’re writing about your favorite restaurant. This article from Scrawlbug lists eight stupid spelling mistakes that happen more often than you think.
9. Spam is for Canned Meat : If someone does check your account, an overload of spam cannot only be off-putting, it can also show that you have little technical knowledge. A potential boss can only assume that you will behave the same and subject the whole office to lottery scams and the like. To prevent from making this social media mistake that will prevent you from landing a job, learn the in’s and out’s of your account. This site is entirely devoted to stopping spam on Twitter.
10. You Got to Keep ‘Em Separated : Love your Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts and will censor them for no one? Go for it. That’s one of the reasons why the internet invented multiple accounts. Simply use one for all of the professional stuff with your proper name, pictures, messages, and such. All the intimate stuff can appear on another account under the nickname of your choice. Visit this link to see a quick and easy way to set up two accounts on the same computer with no problem.
While making one or more of the ten worst social media mistakes can keep you from landing a job, there are also positive ways to socialize. Because many of us find jobs through friends, a simple “anyone hiring a blank?" update can actually be worth the five seconds it takes to post it. In addition, if there is a company you would really like to work for, be their friend on social media. Not only can you get hiring updates, but it also offers an insight to what excites them, what they are up to, and much more.
If you don’t believe, it check out this article from “Time" magazine. It tells the story of Brian Ward who lost and found a job in eleven days using social media. Other useful tips are also given.