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Haley Schiller

4 Social Media Mistakes That Could Hurt Your Career

The expectation in the digital age is that you can be who you are and say what you feel on social media – but can you?

Social media is the most popular outlet for the virtual voice. The expectation in the digital age is that you can be who you are and say what you feel – but can you? In fact, many people have had their careers or job hiring chances hurt by what they emailed, tweeted or posted. The digital world is something of a fickle beast.

Ever hear of Kelly Blazek? Her name might not ring any bells, but her story is definitely something to consider. Blazek, the founder of Cleveland Job Bank, sent a harsh reply to an invite a grad student sent via LinkedIn. The reply went viral, and Blazek became a glimmering lesson of what not to do on social media.

It’s not just pictures of you that might be less professional or lewd comments posted on social media that can affect how people view you and your character. It’s also the subtle things that can affect whether you are hirable or undesirable. Here are four ways to make sure you don’t compromise your character on your social media accounts.

Keep it classy:

Our social presence is looked at and judged. If you’re hesitant about posting something, it’s probably best that you don’t share it on any social platform because as you know, once it’s out there, it can be available forever. A lot of recruiters and hiring managers research on social media to check on potential employees, so don’t allow them to catch a scandalizing post.

In case you need a little more convincing that what you post can affect you, here is an alarming stat: 55 percent of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on a social profile. So think before you post, tweet or reply.

Channel your inner grammar genius on social:

This might seem unimportant to some, but writing with proper grammar and accurate spelling is a big deal. When you write with good grammar – or fail to – people notice. In fact, Jobsite reported that 66 percent of recruiters looked at candidates negatively if they had poor spelling and grammar on social media.

Avoid plagiarizing like the plague:

Plagiarism, which is when someone deliberately uses someone else’s work without giving the source due credit, is a major red flag for hiring managers. That work can include written language, ideas, photography or other materials. To avoid any kind of plagiarism on social media, be sure to give a shout-out where it’s due. For instance, link to a source that you're quoting information from, call out the photographer of a picture you’re posting and even tweet at or tag the author in your post.

Balance public with private:

Social media platforms often default to public settings, which can be positive. Future employers might be impressed if your Twitter account includes insightful tweets that show you are following trends in your chosen career. However, experts also say it’s a good idea to use the privacy settings on your Facebook and personal Twitter accounts. It’s likely a negative if your wild and crazy vacation photos are available for all – including a future employer – to see.

* Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics 2023 / Occupational Outlook Handbook 2022. BLS estimates do not represent entry-level wages and/or salaries. Multiple factors, including prior experience, age, geography market in which you want to work and degree field, will affect career outcomes and earnings. Herzing neither represents that its graduates will earn the average salaries calculated by BLS for a particular job nor guarantees that graduation from its program will result in a job, promotion, salary increase or other career growth.

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