Social Media Blunders

Written by on June 4, 2012 in Career - 1 Comment | Print this page


Does the boss really need to know about her hip tattoo?

We’ve all heard that we should be careful with social media. We’ve also been told about the consequences of such blunders: demotions, being fired, and losing respect. Yet, people still do things online that are harmful to their careers.

As there are more applicants than jobs, employers can afford to be choosier about whom they hire. This means that they can, and often will, use more than your resume and interview to determine if you get the job.

Here are some ways to avoid career killing social media blunders.


Always monitor your pictures. A good rule of thumb is don’t post a picture that you wouldn’t want your pastor to see.

Many people put up pictures that not everyone should see. You shouldn’t post pictures of yourself that could easily be taken out of context. You know you only had one drink on Saturday but, not everyone else does. So, don’t post a picture of yourself holding a martini. Remember, no one wants to think that they hired an alcoholic.

You should scrutinize all of your pictures. This includes seemingly innocent pictures, such as pictures of you in your bathing suit. Sure, it’s not illegal to wear a bathing suit but, do your coworkers really need to see you in the equivalent of your underwear? You spend all week trying to project a professional image. Don’t undo your efforts with one beach pic.

Also, be choosy about the pictures you post of others. Like the old saying goes, you are known by the company you keep. So, that might not be you in the picture, holding a beer and flicking off the camera. But, it’s definitely someone that you associate with. Chances are, if you have a picture of someone holding a beer and flicking off the camera, that person has a picture of you doing the exact same thing.


Everyone on Facebook and Twitter does not need to know that you’re having cramps or that you and your girlfriend are having a fight. Only share this with actual friends, not the world. A potential employer does not want to know this much about you. They feel that if you are this loose with your personal information, how loose will you be with their company’s private information.

Status Updates

Before you update your status, stop and think how it makes you look. No one wants to read updates that say things like “OMG! I can’t believe my sister had her baby on my birthday!” or, something else equally selfish and thoughtless. No one wants to hire this person or be around this person on a daily basis.

Also, you shouldn’t complain about money and then post from your iPad or iPhone. This just makes your employer think that you’re a spoiled brat and you will never, ever get a raise.

It goes without saying that you should not badmouth a boss, employer, or coworker. This could create a lot of problems for you. Many companies now have policies against such behavior. Also, if you’re looking for a job, and a potential employer sees this, they will assume that you’re just going to do the same thing to them. So, you will not get hired.

There are a few things you can do to prevent these social media blunders from seeing the light of day.

Privacy Settings

Privacy settings are your best friend! Set these as high as you can. This will help to ensure that unauthorized people do not see your posts.


If you want an unfiltered social media experience, use an alias. Instead of being Jane Doe on Facebook, list yourself as Janie D and have a random picture as your profile picture. This will make it more difficult for HR to find you and see your posts.

Limit Your Friends

Do not friend your boss, supervisors, or other coworkers. If you aren’t friends with them and your privacy settings are high, they won’t be able to see what you post. This will limit the potential damage from a social media blunder.

Your use of social media is a direct reflection of you. If you misuse it or are irresponsible with it, an employer will have no choice but assume that you will be an irresponsible employee. Don’t let this happen. Use your best judgment and err on the side of caution. Your career depends on it.

How do you avoid social media blunders? Please comment and let us know.

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About the Author

Jen Small

Jen is a writer who is originally from South Florida. A former recruiter for a Fortune 500 company, she has also worked in several different industries - real estate, insurance, construction, and education. Jen has now taken this experience to help others as a resume writer and designer. She currently lives and works in South Korea. View all posts with career advice.