10 Social Media Mistakes Killing Your Job Prospects

Yes it’s social, it’s casual and it’s increasingly prevalent but social media opens up a wealth of potentially dire mistakes when it comes to seeking employment.

Why? Because it’s no secret that prospective employers do check the social media accounts of job applicants. And there’s a decent chance if they don’t like what they see, your future with them is over before you’ve even landed the job.

Here are the top 10 career killing mistakes employers seek and often find on social media…

The facts

According to a study by Jobvite, nine out of 10 employers check the social media profiles of job applicants. And further research by Career Builder found more than half the time those employers find content that stops them hiring a candidate.

So what are the top mistakes job candidates make?

The big ones

There are just some things that no employer wishes to see on a social profile because they have the potential to be a real liability in an employee. These include racial comments, links to criminal behaviour and outright lying about qualifications.

In fact Career Builder notes 28 per cent of employers immediately eliminated candidates because of discriminatory comments, 25 per cent because of lying about their qualifications, and 22 per cent due to links with criminal activity.

The wrong image

Gaining employment is all about your image, but what does your Facebook page say about you?

If your profile indicates you like to party, even at 2pm in a Thursday, then chances are that won’t bode well with any employer.

This image carries right through to the screen name you choose, with Career Builder also noting 21 per cent of employers didn’t hire a candidate based on an unprofessional screen title.

Meanwhile, provocative or inappropriate images are also a big deal, as are references to drugs and drinking. Career Builder found 46 per cent of employers passed on a candidate because of inappropriate photos, while 41 per cent wrote them off due to drinking or drug references.

Yes, social media is about socialising but just be mindful of what your profile portrays.

The wrong friends

And it’s not just you who you need to consider. What do your friends say about you? When your bestie posts that she’s spent the day nursing a hangover, while avoiding calls from her boss, it does little for your work ethic or image.


Just as the wrong friends may do you an online disservice, so too may the organisations you affiliate with and the likes you post. This is especially the case if these affiliations are overly political, downright controversial or indicate a disregard of the law.

Bad timing

For many an employer it’s not even what a candidate says on social media, but when they choose to say it. If you’re in a job, working 9-5 but your Twitter and Facebook posts are regularly updated during the day, then it looks like you’re not that keen on working at all.

Few employers fancy an employee who’s tied up in social media when they should be on the job.


Meanwhile if you are going to pipe up, be mindful of what you post, particularly if it relates to a potential or current employer. If you’re in the running for a big career break, wait until the job is in the bag before you go bragging about how you nailed an interview to all your friends and family.

Meanwhile just bear in mind some employers have confidentiality clauses and commercially sensitive information that was never intended to see the light of day on social media. Career Builder explains 24 per cent of job candidates were bumped off the potential list due to sharing confidential information about their previous employer.

Bad mouthing

Sure you might have had a rough day at work, but Twitter is not the place to share it, and Facebook isn’t the forum to highlight the inadequacies of your boss.

Career Builder notes 32 per cent of employers wrote off a candidate because they bad mouthed a fellow employee or their superior.

Whingeing and moaning

Similarly, if your social media profiles are all about the gripes and groans of life with consistently negative overtones, that also puts prospective employers off. They’re looking for a team player not a whiner who points out all the problems of the world.

Poor grammar

Most employers appreciate that social media isn’t the best showcase of the Queen’s English, but if you are pointing to a profile on LinkedIn or a résumé on Facebook, ensure that your spelling and grammar is up to par. This is particularly important if the job you are going for is in the writing or social media fields.

Career Builder notes 32 per cent of candidates were written off due to poor communication skills.

Contradictory profiles

If your CV says you’ve worked at a company for five years, your social media should reflect that too. Few things raise a red flag as swiftly as profiles that do not correlate with what you’ve told a prospective employer.

The final word

It’s a fact of the modern workplace that employers will check out your online presence, looking at your profiles and even conducting Google searches.

The basic rule of thumb is to ensure your profile reflects the image you wish to portray, and if there is personal information that’s best not seen by an employer, turn your privacy settings on.

About us

The Father James Grant Foundation works with young people providing the workplace skills and confidence they need to land a job in today’s competitive employment landscape. We focus on training, life skills and workplace experience through our four-week long Mission Engage programs. You can learn more about what we do here, or contact us directly.

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