10 Social Media Mistakes That Cost Recent College Grads Jobs

by Gerry Moran

If you are a job-seeking college student or recent grad, you need to know what will sink your career before it starts. These ten social media mistakes can be avoided. 

70% of college job recruiters look for a candidate’s bad behavior on social media. They’ll find yours when researching your background. Whether or not you think it’s fair, it does happen.

Your burgeoning digital brand or social media footprint is likely not discussed in many of your classes.  Do a little extra credit now to understand how your social media grade may influence your future employer!

10 Bad Behaviors Hiring Managers Look for on Social Media

1. Inappropriate graphics. Sexting, flashing, and pornography are some of the destructive behaviors that will keep you from your first day of work. 40% of future employers look for provocative or inappropriate photographs or videos.

2. Drinking or drug use. Many of us like to relax and party. If you do, don’t post it on social media. 36% of hiring managers won’t hire you if you’re posting drinking or drug use.


Related article: 15 LinkedIn Profile Photo Tips


3. Racism or intolerance. Today’s working community is very supportive of diversity and inclusion. 31% of companies won’t hire you if they find discriminatory comments.  You won’t fit into the culture they have worked so hard to build. Stay away from incendiary comments around race, religion, politics, and gender.

4.  Exhibiting behavior that appears to be criminal. While you may not have been arrested or convicted, many activities are illegal. If you post suspicious activity, be prepared to be sentenced to a continued job search. 30% of organizations will not extend a job offer if you exhibit criminal behavior on social media.

5.  Misrepresented qualifications.  It’s one thing to be a poser on social media. Just don’t be a poser for real stuff for a real job. 27% of recruiters will not tolerate if you lie about your qualifications. 

Do a little extra credit now to understand how your social media grade may influence your future employer!

Gerry Moran

6.  Communicating poorly. Communication skills are one thing every brand is looking to make sure their team possesses. 27% of hiring managers will think twice about hiring you if you use bad grammar, slang, and poor punctuation in your public-facing social media posts. 

7.  Disrespecting past employers. Bad attitudes are contagious. You need to be part of the solution and not the problem. 25% of companies won’t think twice about hiring you if you’ve badmouthed a previous company or fellow employee on one of your social media accounts.

8.  Using unprofessional screen names. Refrain from using screen names with inappropriate references. 22% of potential employers will make sure your name does not show up on their employee roster.

9.  Sharing confidential information. If you share proprietary information on social media, you’ll likely share that of your new employer. 20% of companies won’t hire you if they find you’re guilty of not keeping secrets. 

10.  Lying about an absence. Have you ever bragged about how you blew off a class or called in sick when you weren’t ill? If you get caught, 18% of potential employees will consider not extending an offer to you.

Source: CareerBuilder

If you have experienced no job offer or not hired someone because of any behavior I have not listed above, please let me know in the comments below.

It’s never too early to begin thinking about your career. The handling of your personal branding on social media can hurt you as much as it can help you.

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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