Although social media can be a great tool to use for personal and professional purposes, it can be detrimental to a person’s professional image if mistakes are made. However, people can preserve their image by taking the proper precautions when using social media.
Mistakes to Avoid on Social Media
People make several common social media mistakes that could negatively influence an employer or recruiter’s decision when seeking employment. These mistakes include:
Showing Off Expensive Purchases and Wealth
Social media users might be tempted to show off recent earnings or pricey luxury items, but it’s often a deterrent to recruiters and employers. Displaying modesty and financial responsibility can go a long way in securing employment.
Making Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
Proper spelling and grammar aren’t solely for professional blog articles or other content—these practices on social media are also integral to a person’s reputation. Individuals can use spellcheck software or review their social media posts for grammatical or spelling errors before posting.
Posting About Alcohol or Marijuana Use
Employers and recruiters are also likely to find posts about alcohol and marijuana use—along with partying in general—in poor taste and indicative of a reckless personality. It’s often best to avoid posting pictures of excessive use of any substance.
Potential employers are often deterred by heavily political posts, regardless of where the posts fall on the political spectrum.
While it’s in most people’s best interests to take steps to avoid these mistakes altogether, social media users could change their privacy settings to prevent the public from seeing their activity. This would keep prying eyes away from posts intended strictly for friends.
How Social Media Could Hurt More Than a Professional Image
While taking the right steps to avoid social media mistakes can protect a person’s professional image, this can also protect a person’s personal image, particularly when needed for legal reasons.
For example, if someone is involved in a medical malpractice lawsuit and building a case to sue a negligent medical provider, a social media post involving physical activity could show insurers and attorneys that an injury isn’t as severe as the plaintiff claims. In fact, any injury case could suffer if social media activity contradicts the plaintiff, hurting other supporting evidence that a personal injury lawyer might have gathered.
Even in cases of divorce and collaborative law, one or both spouses’ social media activity could harm their case when it comes to dividing assets. If one spouse reveals a certain level of irresponsibility that worries the courts, this could affect not only the division of property but also the custody of any children involved.
Generally, people should do what they can to avoid posting anything that might compromise their professional or personal image and reputation. Once someone posts something that could compromise them, it could negatively impact them later in life even if it doesn’t impact them at the moment of posting. By taking steps to keep profiles private and avoid posting damaging content, people can maintain a cleaner public image that protects them in the long term.