#Fail – The Dangers of Social Media

Managing your personal brand online is so important these days because whether you’re aware or not, recruiters and potential employers are searching for people like you on social media every day. You might be a great candidate but these people searching online profiles such as Facebook or LinkedIn don’t know you personally so for them first impressions are everything. It’s critically important to ensure your privacy settings are set correctly (anything is better than public) but often personal photos of weekend shenanigans can still get out into the public domain if any of the other people in a group photo tagged you as well. Unless you directly contact Facebook and request they take down the photo that photo can stay out there in the public domain. What’s worse is, it’s now easy for a potential employer to find these photos. All they have to do is type in your name in the search box, click on your profile then run another search in the search box such as “Photos of John Smith” and they will be presented with every photo on Facebook which you are tagged in (even if they are not your photos!).

66% of employers surveyed have actually said they would hold poor spelling against a candidate when making a hiring decision.  If you are looking for a job with good attention to detail make sure your LinkedIn profile and blog posts that you write are reasonably free of grammatical errors. Small details like this can tell a recruiter or potential employer a lot about the calibre of you as a human resource. Sadly there is no way to talk yourself out of grammatical errors because you are either poor at written communication or you are good at written communication but are just sloppy and impatient when it comes to posting and publishing written material for public consumption, neither of which are particularly appealing from an employability perspective.

There are nonetheless a number of steps you can take to protect your career prospects from online social media damage. Obviously removing yourself entirely from social media is one option but that’s like using a nuclear bomb to kill a mosquito. For most people, social media is a great tool and resource as far as career opportunities is concerned so you might as well take advantage of it. Be careful commenting on news articles because Facebook comments can get very nasty and regular commenters can get a little carried away. I doubt many people want potential/current employers, clients or fellow co-workers reading a controversial comment of yours and having that come back to you. Set privacy settings to Friends Only not Friends of Friends because you personally might not be connected to your boss but co-workers who you have as Friends might be connected with managers. Turn off geo tracking and check-ins on Facebook. You wouldn’t want the people you work with finding out where you go on the weekend. Many people are quite open and cavalier with that sort of information, which is fine, just be aware it’s always better to be in control of who sees what. Don’t add your workplace info or job title on your Facebook profile. Why? You really need two online profiles, your personal persona on Facebook and your professional persona on LinkedIn. Some people might call this fake and argue we should all just be ourselves but in my experience it’s best to keep the work world and the home world separated. If anyone on Facebook can see where you work they can quite easily also find you on LinkedIn by simply running a search such as “John Smith, Financial Accountant PwC” or “Jane Smith, Origin Energy” and from there immediately start snooping. One of the key steps you can take to achieve this split is firstly remove any information on Facebook of where you work and job title while on LinkedIn ensure you do not use it like Facebook. What I mean by “don’t use it like Facebook” is focus on writing professional blogs and making connections and getting involved in industry groups while avoiding posting cat memes or pictures of your kids or that weekend holiday to the beach.

If you are an Accounting/Finance Professional interested in exploring new opportunities in the Brisbane market feel free to give Steven Lane a call on (07) 3135 9780. You are also welcome to join our LinkedIn group here: http://bit.ly/1If4RBf for all the latest news and updates.

Leave a comment