By Marian Li, Toppel Peer Advisor
 
Spring Break is HERE and you can’t wait to hop onto the plane or cruise and let loose and have fun with your friends, but more importantly, you can update your Facebook/Instragram/Twitter/Snapchat with all the photographic proof that you’re living it up #[insertlocation] #SB15. One of the farthest things from your mind is probably the long-term effect of your postings.

As social media becomes the latest branding strategy, networking technique, job seeking tool and recruitment vehicle, it’s also becoming the latest way for employers to check out the media profiles of applicants to weed out undesirable candidates. So while you may be proud of your 500+ Facebook friends or your 1000+ followers on Twitter and almost all your friends liked the hilarious photo of you wasted at the club from the break, make sure your awesome virtual social life is not killing your promising career paths. Here are some don’ts and mistakes people tend to do when it comes to social media.
Your privacy settings aren’t appropriate – Most social networking sites do offer options to keep your profile private. Use these as much as possible. Avoid posting any controversial content; however, if you absolutely want to share what you did last weekend – or over spring break – limit the view only to your friends. But be aware that anything you post online can become public or viral in no time. If a friend “likes”, tags, or retweets you, a larger audience now has access to you post.
You haven’t Googled yourself – You need to able to see what your potential employer is seeing. Google yourself and check out the results. Is there anything out there that could be costing you your job? While it is important to have an online presence so that employers can learn about you, it is also important to be aware of what they’re looking at.
You have grammatical or spelling errors in posts – You may shrug it off since it’s just one misplaced comma or a common acronym, according to a survey conducted in 2012, 54% of recruiters have a negative reaction to grammar and spelling mistakes, while only 47% of recruiters have negative reactions to alcohol references.
Don’t badmouth your current or previous employer – Just like in an interview, keep your rants about your boss or company to yourself. If hiring managers see that you’re willing to trash a colleague online, they assume you’ll do it to them too.  Past actions speak louder as an indication of future actions. Plus, there’s always the possibility of getting fired if someone sees your negative comment.
Don’t announce interviews, raises or new jobs – How you talk about any of these sensitive topics on your social networking site is key. If you’re just starting off your job search, writing “Interview today, wish me luck!” or “So excited about my new job!” is totally acceptable. If you’re currently employed, you’d be surprised who’s checking and if you write something like “Trying to con my boss into giving me a $5K raise, noob!” I don’t think your future at the company bodes well. As a general rule, don’t post something that has a conflict of interest (i.e. don’t mention your job search if you’re still employed, unless your boss knows you’re on the lookout, that’s fair game) and keep everything positive!
Your professional information is inconsistent – Be consistent with job titles, companies you’ve worked for, and duration. It’s fine if you rework your job descriptions, for example, because targeting your resume is a good practice when applying for jobs, Inconsistency in the top headers of your resume will not sit well with potential employers. Make sure the information you’ve provided in various forums/sites adds up.

 

On the positive side, companies are also looking for reasons to hire you! So use social media wisely to highlight your skills, expertise, and professional savvy, and get the job you deserve. Have a wonderful, fun spring break and stay safe!