How Much Should You Really Share On Social Media?

See also: Managing Your Online Presence

In this day and age, it is pretty hard to escape the thralls of social media. Whether you are at work, at home, or even on holiday, social media outlets such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are now the go-to method of communication and a way to keep in touch with colleagues, friends and family, wherever in the world you are.

A study undertaken by USA Today discovered that over a third of all adults on the Internet have a profile on at least one social media site and over a half have more than one.

On these sites, users share all sorts of information; their innermost thoughts and feelings, controversial views and opinions, and of course a whole collection of embarrassing photographs.

It is important however to remember that there is such a thing as sharing too much information, especially as our profiles aren’t as private as we would originally have believed. Additionally, it is a well-known fact that many employers now turn to social media as a way of vetting potential job candidates in the early stages of the application process.

In fact, a survey carried out by CareerBuilder discovered that 37% of employers utilise social media as a way of finding out more about an individual. It allows them a glimpse of who you are outside the restrictions of traditional methods such as a CV, cover letter or even an interview. According to the survey, hiring managers who use social media platforms to screen a candidate prior to interview confirm that they have come across information that has caused them not to offer the candidate a job.

Given this, we thought it would be a good idea to highlight a number of things that you should definitely avoid doing or sharing on social media.

Areas to Avoid Publishing on Social Media

1. Company Information (Privileged Inside Information)

Whether you are an employee or potential job candidate it is important to bear in mind that it is not good practice to share privileged inside information about the company on social media.

This includes anything from company strategy, policy or even who is going to be laid off or promoted. You could be breaking all sorts of legalities as most job contracts now include a confidentiality agreement of sorts.

2. Moans & groans about your boss/ colleagues

Your social profiles might be an outlet for your personal frustrations, but they are not a place to complain about your work, colleagues or your boss, as it is very likely that someone will see it.

If you’ve had a bad day at work or clashed with a colleague, keep your emotions in check and find an alternative way of getting it off your chest. Once you press that publish button it’s on social media for the world to see.

3. Self-incriminating evidence

It might be a no-brainer but anything you wouldn’t say to a police officer should definitely not make its way onto social media – joke or not. Consider referencing any illegal activities as the quickest way to destroy your own career and personal reputation.

4. Controversial views

Avoid any contentious activity on your social media platforms – this includes liking, sharing or commenting on controversial links, articles or updates i.e. on religion, race and politics.

Of course it is fine to have your own opinion but knowing when and when not to support particular views or stories is key. Otherwise it is an effective way to damage your chances of passing a social check as employers won’t want to have someone with conflicting or distasteful views as part of your workforce.

5. Social life and parties

A good night out might be fun but looking back on the embarrassing photos and statuses – not so much.

Definitely avoid sharing inappropriate images of your drunken night out on your social media profiles as not only could it be uncomfortable to look back on but it’s safe to say that potential employers will not be too keen to hire you if your social networks imply that you are constantly going out getting drunk.

You should also consider cleansing your social media of any self-incriminating content from the past as you never know how far back an employer will look.

6. Scams, invites & giveaways

Nobody likes that friend who blocks up our newsfeed with seemingly spammy articles, or who constantly sends us game invites or offers to get involved with all sorts of competitions and giveaways.

Not only does this come across as spam, which is annoying for your friends and contacts, but it also doesn’t give a good impression to any potential employers scanning your profile.

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Getting a Job

Develop the skills you need to get that job.

This eBook is essential reading for potential job-seekers. Not only does it cover identifying your skills but also the mechanics of applying for a job, writing a CV or resume and attending interviews.

7. Personal life

Knowing where to draw the line between your digital life and your personal life is very important.

Relationship problems and personal struggles, amongst other things, are best kept private. If you have a problem or worry, turn first to your friends or family members offline, rather than sharing it with the digital world.

8. Updates to your social networks during office hours

Using your social networks during office hours shows that you obviously aren’t working or being productive.

No current or potential employer will be too impressed to see that instead of getting on with work, you are in fact posting updates to your profile about how much you don’t want to be at work or how bored you are. Resist such temptations and possible distractions by leaving your phone in your bag and waiting until lunchtime to check for any messages or to update your profile.

With all of these aspects in mind, your profile should be employer friendly and offer a positive overview of you as a person and as a brand. After all, with 43% of recruiters stating that the image of a candidate portrayed on social media has led to them making an offer of employment, it is more important than ever before to take what you share online seriously.

About the Author

Victoria is a Marketing Consultant at Parrot Print, specialists in high quality canvas prints. Parrot Print offer unrivalled personal canvas prints with a lifetime guarantee.