SOCIAL media is now deeply embedded in our daily lives. Whether it’s updating your status on Facebook, posting a quick a tweet on Twitter or sharing a photo with your friends on Instagram, we are almost always connected.
Many view social media as a personal domain for harmless fun, a way to connect with friends, or a place to share photos or opinions on everything from last night’s dinner to your latest holiday.
But could networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram actually turn into your worst enemy?
With a quick Google search now offering up a suite of information about our personal lives, we need to be careful about what we share online. If not, there’s a risk that your web-based world could cause real-world damage to your career.
When a hiring manager or recruiter is looking to fill a vacant position, they won’t just be scanning your cover letter and resume. They’ll also be checking your social media pages for any warning signs.
While we all want social media to be light-hearted and fun, there are a few things to remember to help keep you out of trouble.
1. Don’t complain about your boss or your job. Having a bad day at work, or not getting along with your boss? Take a deep breath and think twice before unleashing your feelings on Facebook. Once your frustration has subsided you will be thankful you restrained yourself.
2. Posting while on sick leave. Whether you are genuinely unwell, or you have taken ‘sick leave’ because you couldn’t face the office today, it would be wise to limit your social media activity while you’re away.
And, of course, if you’re not really sick, don’t go posting pictures of yourself out having a nice lunch with friends.
3. Expressing strong political or religious views. Most people have their own particular view of politics and religion. Some people take these subjects quite seriously, so avoid posting anything too provocative or divisive, or you may risk earning a reputation as a troublemaker.
4. Posting endlessly while at work. We all check our personal social media pages while we’re at work, but that’s not what we’re paid to do. While it may be okay to occasionally browse your Facebook page, check out your Twitter feed or look through your Instagram feed, try and limit your screen time.
5. Sharing too much information. Our Facebook pages are often filled with photos or videos of our family and friends. All this is great, but if a friendship or relationship turns sour, it may be tempting to share your feelings online. Don’t let any feud spill into social media for the entire world to see.
6. Using racial slurs. Racism can never be tolerated, and the same rule applies on social media. In fact, if you cross the line on social media, you are likely to very quickly feel the wrath of the online community. One of the most high profile cases was that of Justine Sacco, a PR person who fired off a quick (and stupid) tweet before jetting off to Africa. By the time her plane touched down, she was trending on Twitter – for all the wrong reasons.
* This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
* This article first appeared in The Borneo Post (http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/06/20/dont-let-social-media-harm-your-career/)