Social Media Mistakes that Could Ruin your Career

Social Media Mistakes that Could Ruin your Career

6th October 2015   |   George Atkins

Social media is one of the 21st centuries most revolutionary inventions so far, with the universally granted privilege of communicating with individuals across the world. As an entity, It has undoubtedly done a great deal of good to unite mankind, but never forget the power it can have to ruin your career in an instant, if your not careful; you could even get fired because of social media faux pas! So with that in mind, here are some social media mistakes that you want to avoid at all costs.

“Dissing” your Job, Colleagues and/or Boss
This is social media 101, really; if you have any ‘thoughts’ concerning your work colleagues, or the company on a whole, it might be unwise to post them online for all to see! In some companies, talking negatively about a company, or posting content that might be considered detrimental to their brand image, can be a sack-able offense (usually referring to information in your contract that you have to sign to work for them!). You wouldn’t talk about a colleague or boss in a derogatory way at the office, so why do it through social media? Do people really need to read your rant about someone who really rubs you the wrong way? Probably not.

Woman on Phone

“Bunking Off” Work and Posting About it…
Again, this should be obvious; if you do ‘choose’ to take a day off work unbeknownst to your boss (a practice that we do not condone, coincidentally!) then posting about it through social media is unwise to say the least. As with speaking unfavorably about your company, deliberately misleading your employer to get a day free is, of course, a disciplinary if not dismissal matter, so beware! If you do need to legitimately receive some time off from work because of personal crisis’s, injury or any other emergency, talk to your employer and explain the situation.

Swear Jar

Drinking, Profanity and ‘Inappropriate’ Conduct
Especially if you are in a customer relations based role, using offensive language, posting pictures of you drinking heavily, smoking and any other ‘pursuits’ is a really bad idea and doesn’t give employers a good impression of you at all! Again, would you act like this in front of your boss in real life? Of course, whatever you do in your personal life is your own business, so long as it does not interfere with your work life or step over into illegality, but it is still not going to paint a particularly-professional picture of you for your employer. But if you really want to showcase your interesting lifestyle choices on social media, try making two separate accounts, one personal, one private and change the privacy settings; that way, you can control what your boss has access to and prevent any awkward disciplinary meetings from being held!

Bad-mouthing Previous Employers
Talk about burning your bridges! Even if you have no intention of speaking to your old boss ever again, it is simply bad practice to slate employers and does not look good to your new/ current company either. The old saying “if you don’t have anything nice to say, say nothing” certainly holds up in this situation and you have nothing to gain from posting such negative thoughts on social media. All right, we all get frustrated by employers who might have been unprofessional, rude, awkward or insulting, but fighting fire with fire is never a good idea; follow the official channels if you have a genuine grievance with an employer and see if you can come to some sort of agreement. But at all costs, leave social media well alone in these circumstances! It is also worth keeping in mind that it is not just your career that can be ruined by irresponsible social media usage; social media updates can even invalidate your home cover!

Having a Lack of Social Media Presence Altogether!
Almost worse than posting inappropriate content on social media is having nothing to post at all! Social media are becoming more and more important, with most companies nowadays (certainly newer companies for whom digital communication at some level is vital) expecting to see well-maintained social media pages with interesting posts, tagged photos, even work experience information (e.g. LinkedIn), so to not have any social media pages is a concern to employers. Additionally, here are some of the positives and negatives of using social media, hopefully demonstrating what a powerful tool it can be!

Social Icons

Leaving Outdated Information Online
Failing to update your social media pages, especially when looking for jobs, can be damaging to your employability; for example, imagine looking through information that you provided when you were a teenager… chances are that profile is vastly different from your current one! LinkedIn, in particular, needs to be updated on a regular basis, given that many employers now use the site as a means of scouting for potential employees so don’t neglect it for too long, especially if you have had work experience since last visiting. It might mean the difference between being hired and being passed up for another applicant. Additionally, if you need to update your information for job searching, why not check out our CV/Resume creator here; it’s free to create and you can choose from hundreds of premade templates to help you stand out from the crowd! On the topic of leaving unnecessary information online…


Release Sensitive Company Information Online
In virtually every company’s remit, there will be a rule somewhere to prevent the leaking of private information on social media platforms or the web; as a result, being found to do so will probably result in your dismissal and maybe even being taken to court and sued, so don’t do it! You (hopefully) wouldn’t discuss sensitive information with the press or other individuals outside of your company, so why discuss such things on social media? Additionally, if you are found to be divulging information, you won’t exactly be a trusted as an employee when working for any new companies either, or even get employed at all in some cases, so steer well clear of releasing personal information of clients on social media.

Don’t be convinced to Share Someone Else’s Inappropriate Post/Tweet
Sharing inappropriate material via your social media page can be as bad as posting it yourself in the first place, suggesting that you condone such material, which may prove damaging to your career! Sharing might not equate to the same as creating the content in the first place, but being related back to that content would certainly not do you any favors. If you have any doubts over how content will be received by colleagues, your company or boss, don’t share it; it’s a easy mistake to make sometimes and Twitter will probably be able to cope without a extra like/ share from you.

Tags:    Job Search

George Atkins Hashtag CV Creative Writer

George Atkins | Creative Writer @ Hashtag CV

George is a 22-year-old graduate from Cardiff University, having studied Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies, where he wrote news articles and interest pieces for various student magazines. He currently lives just outside of Birmingham, playing records and DJing in his spare time.