8 Social Media Mistakes That Are Sinking Your Job Search

More than nine out of 10 recruiters now check social media profiles of potential job candidates before they hire them, according to a new study from Jobvite.

That’s probably not surprising, but are you sure you’re making a good impression? About half of employers who research prospective hires on social media have decided not to hire someone based on something they’ve found, according to CareerBuilder data.

Here are a few ways you may be tripping yourself up, according to work experts:

  1. Constantly grumbling. “Complaining across social media reflects negatively on your attitude and perspective,” says Leeyen Rogers, vice president of marketing for JotForm. “No one wants to work in close proximity to people who are consistently in a bad mood and may drag others down.”
  2. Mistiming your tweets. “One often overlooked mistake is posting after-hours activities during clearly defined working hours,” says Kyle Thompson, marketing strategist and owner of Big Fish Consulting. “Talking about the set you just pulled off at the gym or how beautiful the golf course looks at 10 .m. are all flagged with a date and time.”
  3. Criticizing your boss. “One of the biggest mistakes job candidates make is posting negative comments about their former or current employers on social media,” says Val Matta, vice president of business development at CareerShift. “This is a big red flag for other companies and tells them that the job candidate lacks professional discretion and loyalty.”
  4. Posting inappropriate photos. The photos that throw up red flags for a potential employer may not be the ones you’d expect. (Or maybe they are.) For instance, that photo of you holding a firearm in an irresponsible manner? Not a great idea, says Rick Anglada, a retired New Mexico state police lieutenant who conducted countless background investigations on job applicants during his career. Other photo misfires: Pictures that involve partying or alcohol consumption.
  5. Whenever you post a photo or let someone else tag you in one, ask yourself if you’d want your high school principal to see it. “At a previous job, I once checked on a job candidate who had a shirtless selfie as a previous profile picture, making a crude gesture,” says Meagan Nordmann, director of marketing for RiskSense. “It may have been a joke photo from years ago in college, but it was a huge turn-off, and he was not called in for an interview.”
  6. Under-utilizing LinkedIn. “So many people just try to ‘connect’ with every possible person, but I would take a different strategy,” says Bill Fish of ReputationManagement.com. “Be as active as possible within your area of expertise. That could be joining relevant groups, commenting on articles, and doing what you can to make a name for yourself.”
  7. Not having a photo on LinkedIn. “A LinkedIn profile is eleven times more likely to be viewed if there is a picture,” says Kelly Keating, co-owner of Red Letter Resumes. Post a professional headshot with your face clearly visible for best results.
  8. Being forgettable. “The first thing a potential employer will look at is your profile, and if you botch this opportunity to grab her attention, she will be moving on to the next profile,” says Sheryl Johnson, founder of BD-Pro Marketing Solutions. “If she moves on, you’ve lost your chance. It is that important.” Your social media profile is like your virtual handshake, she says. It needs a good picture, a powerful headline and supporting details that describe what makes you different from other job candidates.
  9. Celebrating too soon. Had a great interview? Fantastic. Keep it to yourself on social media. “One candidate took to Twitter and posted a comment indicating that they had a great time meeting our team and that they couldn’t wait to join our agency,” says Alyson Jamison, senior program manager for Stalwart Communications. “We hadn’t yet made a decision and were put off by the fact that they assumed they got the job.” There’s nothing wrong with tweeting the company after a meeting and thanking them for their time, Jamison says, but assuming you’re already on the payroll is a bit much.

 

Originally edited on Forbes by Kate Ashford

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