We love social media! As millennials, we are a generation that saw the exponential rise of the Internet and the introduction of Social Media in our lives.
We are the generation most in touch with technology at the moment and we are the biggest demographic currently on social media. Most of us have had multiple social media accounts for several years – some even for 8-10 years.
But have we learned to use social platforms properly? Do we really know how to make them work to our advantage? Apparently not that well, and using them in the wrong way can make us look very unprofessional. So much so, that our chances of getting hired might be damaged.
Here are three major mistakes that many of us make.
1. Being Relaxed About Security & Privacy Settings
Younger generations trust social media a lot more than older generations, since they feel more accustomed to them. We practically grew up with the Internet and it is not terra incognita as it is for our parents.
However, we tend to trust the internet and social networks way too much. Nowadays, we readily share personal information or our locations in order to get freebies and offers, or simply to boast about it. This is personal information that we are giving away freely and whether we believe it or not it says a lot about us. Companies even collect it and use it. Being too open and seeming careless with privacy can make people look careless and superficial. Not exactly the quality employers or business partners are looking for.
Remember that when you live a very open social media life, you will be open to scrutiny. So, don’t be surprised if you have some kind of backlash at some point.
2. Sharing too Much
We use social media daily, and although we upload the daily things one would expect from any responsible adult, many people upload a lot of inappropriate material as well. Before you share, think.
How would you feel if your parents saw what you were sharing? Drinking, posing provocatively and being too open about it will definitely not get your hired – it may even get you fired. It will at the very least make you look very unprofessional and can draw negative attention.
Employers nowadays monitor candidates on social media and even though it’s illegal to ask for social media credentials they can find out a lot from someone’s oversharing. It is not necessary to share absolutely every detail of your life online. Be careful about what you share and what connotations it might have if viewed by different people.
3. Not Creating a Professional Brand Online
We might spend a lot of time online, but most of us haven’t even got a “professional side” online. When someone googles you, what comes up? What do these results say about you? That you are a responsible person who can be counted on in a professional environment? A person experienced in their field? A party animal who doesn’t seem to care about anything? A person who balances fun and professional success in a healthy way?
First of all you need to stop oversharing and then think about your privacy. Then, a LinkedIn profile is something you should really be thinking about in order to build a professional brand online. But don’t treat it like it’s Facebook. Tailor your image to fit the message you would like people to get when they look you up.
We all still need to live our lives as we live and we all need to express ourselves, but we can do that in a way that is more socially acceptable. Many people behave online as they wouldn’t even dream to do in real life and this is a problem. If you are doing things that are not widely accepted – by your parents, teachers, professors, bosses, colleagues, etc. then don’t share them with the world. It’s easier that way.