6 Mistakes Job Seekers Still Make on Social Media

Social Media Faux PasHere’s a cold, hard fact: your personal status updates may be impacting your ability to land your next job.

We all know now that employers will search for you online at some point during the screening and hiring process. What you may not know is that what think may be hidden behind a curtain of privacy… probably isn’t.

“93% of recruiters will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision.”

 – Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey

Some job seekers, and even some recruiters, say that employers shouldn’t be allowed to scrutinize private or personal updates on social networks. And some feel that it isn’t fair to evaluate personal lives to determine professional qualifications.

Everyone agrees, however, that we are crossing into new territory where your lifestyle and perceived professionalism are both fair game if you put it on social networking sites. In fact, Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey reports that 55% of the recruiters and hiring entities have reconsidered a candidate based on content viewed in a social profile, leading to both positive and negative re-assessments (61% of those reconsiderations were negative).

Instead of viewing this as invasive, embrace the opportunity to publicly promote the best you have to offer. And whatever you do, avoid these six common mistakes job seekers still make on social media:

1. Just Say No To Drugs

The most damaging thing you can do to your job search: referencing illegal drug use. According to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, 83% of recruiters said seeing mentions of illegal drugs in a candidate’s social updates left a negative impression. Stay away from any mention of drugs, even if you’re joking, or run the risk of ruining your reputation.

2. Sex Sells, But Not in Job Search

Next in line for topics to avoid on social: status updates of a sexual nature. According to Jobvite, 70% of recruiters said sexual posts were a turn-off. While it may be funny to your friends, that joking status update or tweet is most likely offensive to others and damaging. You wouldn’t dare send that joke, photo or link in an email to your boss, so keep it out of your social networking stream.

3. Spelling Counts

You may not think you need to worry about status updates being typo-free, but spelling and grammar do matter. Why? Because to recruiters, a quick scan of error-ridden updates either shows a lack of attention to detail or poor writing skills. In fact, the recent study found 66% of recruiters said spelling and grammar errors were considered a big enough problem to exclude a candidate.

4. Swear at Your Own Peril

Employers have little tolerance for the use of profanity online. 63% of recruiters viewed status updates containing profanity unprofessional, offensive and intolerable in most workplaces. As old fashioned as this may sound: keep your language clean.

5. Keep Your Guns Under Wrap

People’s attitudes about gun ownership and usage vary widely; largely depending on whether you live in a rural or urban areas. While you have no control over how the recruiter finding you views gun issues, you do know that 51% of hiring entities negatively view references to guns… so conceal those weapons.

6. Don’t Drink and Share

We all know that drinking and driving don’t mix. The same holds true for sharing photos or status updates about that great party or overindulging Saturday night bash and your job search. These types of updates may not be as harmful as the others mentioned here;  however, you still want to keep your stream alcohol-free as 44% of recruiters thought the reference of alcohol was taboo.

There is a positive side to all this. Employers can be positively swayed by your status updates:

“One third (33 percent) of employers who research candidates on social networking sites say they’ve found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate. What’s more, nearly a quarter (23 percent) found content that directly led to them hiring the candidate.”

– CareerBuilder 2014 study

Knowing that someone is checking you out, be aware about what you are post online.  Share carefully, always thinking: would this give an employer a reason to say, “No thank you… next!”


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Career Sherpa!


Career Sherpa


HannahAbout the Author: Hannah Morgan is a career sherpa, guiding new job seekers through the treacherous terrain of job search. If you are looking for no-nonsense advice, check out her site Career Sherpa, and follow Hannah on Twitter for the latest job search news and trends!



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