The advice “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” holds especially true in today’s digital age, suggests new research from staffing firm OfficeTeam. When asked about the most common social media mistakes that take job seekers out of the running for a position, 45 percent of human resources (HR) managers cited writing negative or inappropriate comments. About one in three (35 percent) said posting or being tagged in questionable photos is the prevailing digital faux pas.
View an infographic of the survey findings about social media mistakes.
HR managers were asked, “In your opinion, what is the most common social media mistake professionals make that reduces their chances of being hired?” Their responses:
People often believe posting on social media is just harmless fun, but in reality, employers frequently look online to learn about prospective hires,” said Brandi Britton, a district president for OfficeTeam. “Professionals should think beyond eliminating unflattering content from their digital accounts to how they can wow hiring managers by showcasing career accomplishments and industry involvement.”
OfficeTeam identifies five types of professionals who commit social media faux pas and provides tips to help avoid these monikers:
The Cranky Critic isn’t shy about sharing off-putting remarks with the world. No subject is off limits, including former colleagues and politics.
Advice: Exercise discretion when posting on social networking sites, blogs or online communities. You never know who might see your comments.
The Superfluous Selfie Poster has no shortage of social media photos, but they’re not exactly always office-appropriate, and there are enough of them to suggest an inflated ego.
Advice: Remove or untag yourself from any images that may raise eyebrows. Use a polished profile photograph.
The TMI Transgressor posts every detail when attending a party, playing a game or taking an online quiz, whether you care to know or not.
Advice: Be aware that certain topics may make you appear unprofessional. Use your best judgment when sharing status updates and check your privacy settings to control who in your network has access to what information.
The Connection Counter invites just about anyone to join his or her network. When it comes to social media contacts, this person favors quantity over quality.
Advice: Be selective about who you connect with and focus on fostering meaningful professional relationships. Having the right people in your network can help advance your career, and potential employers may also reach out to these individuals to learn more about you.
The Nonchalant Networker takes a lackadaisical approach to social media. This individual’s online profiles are sparse, and updates are few and far between.
Advice: Highlight your work history and accomplishments on sites like LinkedIn. Consider including key terms that describe your skills and experience to help employers more easily find you. Show an interest in your industry by participating in relevant Web groups and forums.
About the Research
The survey of HR managers was developed by OfficeTeam. It was conducted by an independent research firm and includes responses from more than 300 HR managers at U.S. companies with 20 or more employees.