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Can Social Media Derail Your Career?

This blog could also be titled “How to alienate friends, and stay unemployed for a very long time.”

I’ve been involved with Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for nearly a decade when I joined Linkedin on the advice of a client who was an early adopter. A few years later I found myself exploring Twitter and Facebook and secured my handles while they were still available. Since then, I’ve been an active user of the 3, and learned about the most annoying behaviours, what turns off employers, and causes people to unfriend you or disconnect. If you want to stay happily engaged on social media and keep your prospects open to further your career, learn how to behave in cyberspace.

1. Avoid being preachy, whether it’s your love or hate for the president, or your deep religious faith, there is an extremely good chance you’ve got cyber-friends who don’t feel the same way. Some people have told me “I don’t care, it’s who I am and I won’t hide it.” That’s perfectly fine, however if sometime in the future you’re job hunting, you could be discriminated against for your beliefs without your knowledge. It can freak out future HR Managers who fear of politicking and proselytizing in the workplace. Politics and religions should not be discussed in polite company anyway. The same goes for Facebook.

2. Watch the extreme details about your health issues. I understand if you need prayers for an ailment, just keep the dirty details to yourself. For one, it’s illegal for employers to ask if you have any health issues prior to hiring you. So, why would you want to publicize that information? I’ve had people tell me they only share this type of information with a select few (like 100 others!) and then can’t understand that once it’s public, it’s OK to share, and people do! Employers could become skeptical about whether you’re healthy enough to work.

3. Family squabbles need to be kept in the family. I’ve seen husbands and wives argue on a Facebook page! Or worse, a wife berating her husband about what a lazy ass he is. That shows more about your discretion of private matters than it does your husband’s laziness and that makes companies fear you won’t be discrete with their secrets either. Plus, they don’t like a lot drama in their workplace.

Facebbok Dont 9

4. Don’t critique your job interviews. Better yet, don’t even announce you have a job interview. Doing so not only creates competition, and again, it tells future managers you reveal too much information on meetings that should be kept private, even if you don’t mention names. I’ve seen a few (long term) job seekers continuously bad mouth interviewers, some even mentioning the name of the company, and post it in LinkedIn group forums, Facebook, and on twitter.


Facebook DONT

5. Posting long diatribes of your inner most thoughts is another way to derail your career. Some things are just made for a journal.





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6. Don’t post evidence of drug use. Really do I have to explain it?



7. Guilting your cyber-friends into sharing and posting pictures and memes “even if it’s just for an hour” tends to make some people uncomfortable.  Requests for help with moving followed by “we’ll see who my real friends are” may find themselves extremely disappointed.

8. Gaming. If you spend the majority of your time on Facebook playing games, keep in mind that time is trackable. Employers might get the idea you have an addiction to Candy Crush and wonder about priorities or productivity.

9. Complaining about how broke you are, only to post photos a week later of your new car, recent vacation, a new tattoo, or stylish hair and nails. Regardless of how your acquired these things, the perception is you don’t know how to manage your money.

Anything you post on social media can be used against you. So if you’ve been unemployed for a really long time – perhaps it’s time to either shut down your account altogether or at the very least, go in a remove any offending posts.


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Don’t Lie About Your Job History on Linkedin

This morning I received my usual email notice from Linkedin telling me what my connections are up to in their career.  I like to know how my friends, clients, and former co-workers are doing and drop them a line when I hear about a promotion or new job.

The note this morning urged me to congratulate “John Doe” on his work anniversary of three years at a well-known company. John was a former supervisor of mine many years ago when I worked in radio, so I went to his profile and started looking through his work history. I found it odd that the station we  both worked at during that time was not even listed. Worse, he listed a different radio station and location altogether! This made me wonder why he would even take that chance. Was it an honest mistake, or did he purposely revise history thinking no one would be the wiser?

Here’s the problem. John had about 50 co-workers during his time at that job so there’s at least 50 people in our industry who could place him there during that time frame and not at the station he listed. Further, he contributed quotes to music publications that linked him to our station. And he was known by competitors in our market, so that adds even more who can refute his Linkedin job history.

Another concern is for those of us who worked with him. Granted, it was 20+ years ago, but if I ever wanted to use him as a reference, Linkedin shows him not working there at all, which brings up the question, “who’s telling the truth?”

You don’t need to list every job on Linkedin, especially those from 20 years ago. But to give the impression you worked elsewhere when you didn’t can easily be challenged. And should his current employer get wind of this, he could seriously jeopardize his job.

Thanks to the Internet, it’s no longer easy to fudge dates or your past. Don’t do it.

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Your ego is showing

I spend a lot of time in professional chatrooms for various occupations to get my feel for the challenges and requirements of different jobs. The threads back and forth are interesting and informative. One thing I’ve noticed among the replies, is how people sign their names, with the inclusion of supporting contact information. It’s called a signature line, and it usually reads something like:

Susan Geary
Certified Resume Writer
(623) 556-0330

Member Career Directors International
Nominated for 3 TORI Awards for excellence in resume writing


Is it just me or are these things getting a little too long? These signature lines seem to be growing by leaps and bounds. You know what I’m talking about. The threads with 2 line replies followed by a 26 line biography of every accomplishment the signatory ever attained. It’s like one person sees another do it, and says, “I’m going to beef up my signature line too.” It wastes bandwidth, and annoys the reader, because because information is difficult to find. The reader has wade to through a resume within every email, just to find the answer to a question.

I see the reason behind it, and it’s a great idea. Just shorten it please! Perhaps instead of listing 15 different writing awards, write “Winner of 15 TORI Awards.” And just give us the best stuff and a web address. We’ll seek more information if we’re interested.

The only thing an extremely long signature line does is make the writer look egotistical. I’m sure that’s not the intention, however be advised that it is the perception.

All the best in your job search!

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Big Brother and the Job Search

Now more than ever, you are being watched. And if you don’t believe me, here are two good examples.

1. An employee in Australia calls in for “a sickie” (that’s Aussie for sick day) after a hard night of partying. The boss reads his Facebook page to find out the truth as to why his employee couldn’t come into work. The employee admitted on line that he had a hangover. Ooops.

2. An intern at a Minnesota Television station causes a scene and attacks the Executive Producer after being fired. This intern’s name, along with the Executive Producer, was listed in a police report which made the local newspaper. Now when the intern goes job searching, this little tidbit will be easily googled. It doesn’t bode well for the person being attacked either.

Morale of the story: don’t behave in a way that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see on the front page of your local newspaper, because essentially, that’s what our lives have become with the advent of cell phone cameras, youtube, etc. Your boss is watching, and so are future employers.

Be careful out there!!!