Facebook is a wonderful platform to catch up with friends, stay connected and to share personal stories and images that have meaning to you, but it’s also a public platform for potential employers to find out more about you.
The way you use Facebook in college, before you head out into the workforce, is extremely important. In fact, I don’t think I’m exaggerating to say that your Facebook page could make or break your first job opportunity.
So, here is a list of 16 things to avoid to keep your reputation–and your future employment–in tact.
1. Post Angry Tirades
We all get ticked off at times. It could be from a relationship gone bad, a political pundit that drives you crazy or even something as simple as bad service at a restaurant. However, angry tirades with expletives is a first-rate way to sabotage your reputation.
2. Party Pictures
Personal partying pictures are a big red flag to most employers. Think twice before posting that pic from the frat party when you jumped off the balcony into the pool. Your roommates might appreciate it, but it doesn’t help your job search efforts, trust me.
Over-sharing is annoying at best and completely embarrassing at worst. The world doesn’t need to know about your problems with constipation, your every move during the day, your heated family discussions or your vendetta against your roommate. Avoid TMI and it will save you in the long run. Also, for the record, you should be authentic on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean you need to share everything with the world. A wise old person once said, “Tell the truth, but that doesn’t mean you need to go around telling it all day long.”
4. Embarrass others
I get it, you have fun friends and it’s easy to use Facebook as a revenge tool with the perfect photoshopped picture–or a quick snapshot in a compromising position–but it comes at a cost. Don’t compromise your own integrity for laughs. Well, unless it’s really good 🙂
5. Criticize others publicly
So your biology prof gave you a bad grade and you think it was unjustified… don’t criticize him/her on Facebook. If you need to vent, go to a friend. Slamming other people on Facebook reveals a level of immaturity that potential employers look out for.
6. Only talk about yourself
When people become Facebook friends with you, it’s because they want to engage with you, personally, but that doesn’t mean you have to talk about yourself in every post. Use posts to encourage friends, point to great resources and build relationships. If your Facebook page is filled with selfies a potential employer could think you’re too self-absorbed.
7. Too Sensual
Posting sensual pictures or statuses that often reference sexual or intimate events is a big red flag. Just don’t.
8. Too Political
You have strong views. That’s good. But they don’t always need to show up on Facebook–especially when it involves slamming current political leaders in every post or name-calling. Don’t be THAT person. Share your views intelligently, when appropriate, and keep your political debates confined to real-life conversations as much as possible.
9. Ignore Ethics
Don’t celebrate the fact that you cheated the IRS, got out of a speeding ticket by lying, or even stole pens from your campus job. This one is self-explanatory, but it’s amazing how often you see these types of posts on Facebook.
10. Act Like Your Perfect
Wait a minute, don’t you want employers to think you’re the real deal? Yes, and that’s why pretending to be perfect–or pretending that your life is perfect–is another red flag. We’re all flawed and it’s important to show an appropriate level of vulnerability on social media. Don’t be plastic.
11. React to News Stories Without the Facts
This happens all the time. We see a story from one vantage point and we react by changing our profile pictures, un-friending people and sharing our outrage… only to find out we had the story all wrong–or even that it was a hoax. Use discernment with what you post and make sure you know the facts (and the validity of the story) before engaging it with a strong view on social media.
12. Bible Thump
Facebook is a great platform for sharing your beliefs, encouraging others to explore Christianity and sharing your love of Christ. However, there’s a big difference between being a witness to the Christian gospel and harping on others to get their act together–all the time–with Scripture, angry rhetoric or shaming. Be bold, but don’t be a jerk.
13. Over-talk Your Multi-Level Marketing Business.
You’ve probably noticed the rise of multi-level marketing ventures, right? They’re kinda taking over our news feeds. From energy drinks, supplements, essential oils and skin cream, these MLMs can change your Facebook page into an infomercial in seconds. If you’re involved in one of these there’s no shame in sharing it, but do it wisely and discretely–it will prove you have a high level of self-awareness and discernment.
Blogger Sharon Greenthal says this could be the most annoying habit on Facebook–above them all. Vaguebooking is when you vent about something or someone in your life without calling them out specifically. When you post things like, “I never thought a best friend would treat you this way,” or “Some people in the church need to stop judging,” or “I hate the way family can you hurt you so badly,” it can come off as desperate, immature or even vindictive. Don’t use Facebook to vent about personal issues with vague statements no one else will understand (except the person you’re referencing).
15. The Debbie Downer
When life is tough, you shouldn’t hide it. But every post you share shouldn’t be about how dark, tough, unfair and bleak your life is. Consistently posting in this way will reveal a lack of self-awareness and/or compassion toward others. It’s better to pick up the discipline of journaling–or, even better, find a close friend or counselor–than place all your dark thoughts on Facebook.
16. Get into Public Arguments/Debates
Facebook is great for sharing information and networking, but it’s a horrible platform for debate. In fact, most of the debates turn nasty and make both parties look immature and petty. Be careful not to get pulled into trivial arguments.
Don’t forget, Facebook is a great tool for connecting to others–it’s also becoming a bigger target for personal references with potential employers. If you think before you post, it could help make the job search that much easier when you graduate. Trust me.