Seven Ways to Avoid Making Career Threatening Mistakes on Your Social Network Profiles

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Matthew Wood

In an increasingly tech-savvy age dominated by social media, now more than ever is the time to ensure that your social networking profiles are career error-proof.

Because social network profiles are so openly accessible, a simple search engine query with your name and location is likely to bring back (sometimes unfavourable) information about you with relevant links to your social profiles.

This can be especially precarious when applying for a new job – or indeed during any point in your career. Think about it, if you’re applying for a new job, an employer is going to do all they can to recruit the right person for their company. That means extensive background checks that are sure to cover your social networking activities.

With this in mind, here are seven steps to making your social network profiles career-proof – ensuring that you land that job, or at least keep hold of your current one.

1) Make your accounts private
If you’re concerned that any content that you may have on your social profiles like Facebook, Twitter or Google+ (ok, maybe not Google+) could be deemed as inappropriate to employers then your safest bet may be to make all of your accounts private. However, this could only trigger a response from employers that you may have something to hide.

2) Use a professional display picture
When browsing for information on an individual through the medium of a social network, the very first thing that an employer is going to come across is your display or profile picture. Make sure that this is a suitably professional and appropriate image of you that doesn’t contain any unnecessary profanities.

3) Avoid aggressive and expletive content
When it comes to social networks, certain individuals like to use the medium as an avenue to voice their frustrations or their displeasure at various goings on in their private life. However, this isn’t something that is likely to impress employers – particularly if you’re using language that could be considered aggressive or contains expletives.

4) Un-attach yourself from inappropriate images
The trouble with a social network like Facebook is that you’re unable to control the images that you’re “tagged” in. However, you do have the opportunity to “untag” yourself. Have a rigorous check through all of your images and determine which of those may not be entirely fitting for an employer to see.

5) Don’t accept requests from work colleagues
Unless you have a close working and social relationship with a colleague, then it may not be ideal to accept friend requests from the people who you work with. Your unscrupulous social activities could soon be the talk of the workplace and it won’t be long until word travels to your superiors. Having said that, rejecting the opportunity to accept friend proposals from work mates may only serve to raise suspicion of your extra-curricular activities.

6) Use your social profiles at the right times
For existing employees, it’s always important to consider the best time to make use of your social networking profiles. If you post updates during working hours then employers may believe that you’re avoiding work that you should be doing.

7) Never vent about an employer
Finally, and probably most obviously, you must never use a social network profile to make comment about your company or organisation. The power of social media will always come back to hurt you, that is for sure.

Matthew Wood is a regular user of social network profiles and, at the time of writing, still has a job. Matthew has contributed this content on behalf of EuroMaTech – a provider of World Class Training Seminars.

image credits:


  1. Jennifer Cunningham says:

    Enjoyed the post about avoiding career suicide. I think that was a good point about not venting on fb. Even better, have a personal passworded account and a fb account. But,as joyous write, whatever is up there is up there for life.

  2. Shannon says:

    It’s so sad that some people don’t know this as that thing called “common sense” and need to be reminded. Maybe common sense isn’t something you are born with or taught while growing up these days.

    Honestly? If you don’t want someone, somewhere to “find out” what you said online, don’t say it! If you are not prepared to 100% back up and take responsibility for something you said online, don’t say it!

    Otherwise, don’t go whining about it after the fact when what you say online comes back to haunt you, or causes you to lose your job.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.