9 Ways to Not Embarrass Yourself Online

So, you’ve polished your résumé, perfected that elevator speech and picked out the perfect outfit. But, you might not be ready for that interview just yet if your social media profiles aren’t up to par.

Research shows that a large percentage of employers go online to get more background on prospective candidates, which means everything from your Instagram food photos to those late-night Twitter rants might affect whether or not you get the job.

And, while what happens on the Internet tends to stay on the Internet … forever, there are things you can do to clean up your social media profiles and make them more employer-friendly. Here are our tips.



Inappropriate Photos.

Photos of your beach trip or a late-night party might be okay to share with friends, but a study by CareerBuilder.com found that up to 46% of employers are turned off by provocative photos and posts that involve drinking. Avoid sharing anything that could work against your professional image, and don’t forget to look through the photos you’ve been tagged in on Facebook and Instagram and un-tag yourself from anything that could be considered inappropriate.



Everyone has bad days, but taking to social media to complain about them could hurt you in the long run. When employers research you online, they’re usually trying to get a sense of who you are before they meet you. Too many negative comments on your social media profiles can give the wrong impression about your personality. Hiring managers are looking to add positive and friendly employees to the team — which means it might be a better idea to vent offline to your friends than taking it to the Twittersphere.


Poor Communication Skills.

Inappropriate photos and posts might be obvious drawbacks for employers. But did you know poor communication skills can also affect whether or not you get a callback? Avoid major grammar mistakes that could make you seem unprofessional — like misusing “your and “you’re” or misspelling the names of important places and companies. Yes, it’s a casual social media post, but it’s also a reflection of your competence, so take the extra time to make sure you’re showing off your appreciation of grammar and spelling.



Industry-Specific Posts.

Joining the conversation on current trends and news in your target industry will help demonstrate your commitment and passion for your future job. Follow major companies and news outlets on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and engage with them on your profiles. Just make sure you’re not faking it — an employer could bring up a future post in an interview, so make sure you’re truly interested in (and knowledgeable of) what you’re posting.


Anything That Supports Your Qualifications.

Facebook and Twitter might not have a section to include your qualifications like LinkedIn, but that doesn’t mean you can’t share your experience on your profiles. Posting statuses and photos that back up your brand and past work experience will give employers confidence that you’re being honest on your résumé.

Leslie Knope


Projects That Display Your Creativity.

Have a fun new project you’ve been working on during your own time (like a blog, YouTube channel or writing project)? Don’t be afraid to share it! Displaying projects that show off your creativity and varied interests can make you a more attractive job candidate. This shows potential employers that you’d bring a range of skills and unique perspective to a company.



Be consistent.

It’s okay to be creative and use social media outlets in different ways. But make sure that at the end of the day none of your profiles contradict your brand. The same goes for your profile pictures — make sure they’re not inappropriate or blurry.


Be aware of your privacy settings.

Find out what your profile would look like to an outsider by asking a friend to look you up or searching for yourself on Google. Keep in mind that even if you’re sure your profile is completely private, you should still be careful what you post. You never know which of your acquaintances could know a future employer.

Modern Family


Use social media to your advantage.

You know employers will research you online. So, control what they’re most likely to find. Build your LinkedIn profile to match your résumé, and make sure you use your full name so that employers can easy find it (check out our list of tips for a stand-out LinkedIn profile here). If you want to take it a step further, consider buying the domain of your full name so you can create a website that displays your skills and past work samples.

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