Avoid career suicide via social media

Don't sink your career on social media
Don’t sink your career on social media

I recently heard about a senior exec that’d been blocked from his next great career move due to inane, ‘too much information’ comments he’d made on Facebook. A healthy reminder about the impact social media can have on us professionally as much as it can personally.

“You are CEO of brand you.” (Tom Peters, motivational speaker)

Keep the truly personal, personal: With around half of all recruiters now delving into your brand presence on social media including Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, it’s more important than ever to maintain a healthy balance between public vs. private. For instance, just about all of us encounter bad days and challenging experiences. But before posting your negative reactions, pause and consider whether those temporary feelings are something you want to be permanently branded with.

Don’t assume others will differentiate: As I noted in a previous blog on using social media for professional purposes, it’s essential to choose the right social media forums for your online content. Yet you can no longer assume that your strategic segregation of interactions on Twitter vs. LinkedIn vs. Facebook vs. Instagram will be fully adhered to by others.

Facebook conveys professional capacity: A recent study in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology (reported in Time) found that Facebook profiles are often used by recruiters to determine how individuals will behave and react in a workplace setting. It is now recognised as a personal measuring tool that can gauge levels of emotional stability, extroversion, intellectual curiosity and agreeability. This possibly correlates with what you share from others online as much as what you write about yourself.

“Think once before you act, twice before you speak, and three times before you post on Facebook.” (Paul Carrick Brunson, author) 

Blocking could evoke suspicion: When considering how much social media is used to assess employees, also pause before blocking your accounts like Facebook to the general public. When Google reveals to the recruiter you have social media accounts they can’t access, thoughts about what you’re trying to hide could arise. It’s probably better not to have a Facebook account at all if there could be negative implications.

Obviously there are plenty of personal benefits from having a social media presence – but just keep in mind the professional impact your online personal branding can have. Here at Walton’s Words we regularly share tips, advice and learnings on our social media forums, often in relation to social media. If you’d like to hear more, join in and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Linked via our website links.


Jeanette Walton received a Writing Expertise Acknowledgement via resumé work published in 7th edition of Resumes for Dummies

Recent Posts