Social Media and Your Career Path

Comments posted online matter, in politics, in business, and in relationships.

THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Social media is almost a fixated part of many people’s lives. How you interact with social media, Twitter, Facebook and Linked In can have an impact on your career.

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, 62 per cent of human resources (HR) managers cited writing negative or inappropriate comments as the prevailing digital blunder.

The comments you make can impact your job, and will likely as growing numbers of employers scan social media as part of a hiring process is one that likely few people think about.

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:

Posting negative or inappropriate comments


Not posting regularly; having incomplete, dated or no social media profiles


Posting or being tagged in inappropriate or risqué photos


Other/don’t know



“Anyone currently working in a professional environment or looking to become employed in the near future should pay close attention to how they represent themselves on social media,” said Koula Vasilopoulos, a district president for OfficeTeam. “In addition to eliminating inappropriate content from their digital accounts, workers should keep their profiles updated and relevant, and make the most of the opportunity to candidly demonstrate their interests and contributions in relation to their chosen field.”

Can Social Media Be a Negative on Your Career?

OfficeTeam identifies five types of professionals who commit social media faux pas and provides tips to help avoid these monikers:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The Connection Counter invites just about anyone to join his or her network. When it comes to social media contacts, this person favours 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.
  5. 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 Canadian companies.

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