The Social Media Mistakes Job Seekers Need to Avoid

social media

If you plan to look for a job in 2015, expect a lot of competition. 

With the majority of recruiters seeing the job market heating up next year, you’ll have to be on your game. That includes thinking twice before you tweet.

About 93 percent of recruiters in a new survey said they use or plan to use social media to help them find and screen candidates. LinkedIn is the primary hunting ground, with 94 percent using the platform. About 66 percent of recruiters use Facebook and 52 percent check out a candidate’s tweets, according to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey.

And what they find doesn’t always please them. It should be obvious that you shouldn’t post anything online that might reflect badly on you during the screening process, but apparently it is not. Job seekers are still posting things that can sabotage their job search. More than half of the recruiters in the survey said they have reconsidered a candidate based on things in their social profiles, and not in a good way.

What kinds of posts cast a negative light on candidates? The biggest offender: references to illegal drugs. Here are the biggest turn-offs:

  • Illegal drug references — 83 percent
  • Sexual posts — 70 percent
  • Spelling/grammar —  66 percent
  • Profanity —  63 percent
  • Guns — 51 percent
  • Alcohol — 44 percent

While it is less of a red flag, political posts might also rub some recruiters the wrong way. About 1 in 6 recruiters said that was a potential negative.

Before you start a job search, take a look at your social profiles and delete or hide anything that you don’t want a hiring manager to see. Check your privacy settings as well. And if you do volunteer work, or donate to a charity, consider posting about it. You will make a good  impression on 65% of recruiters.

About the Author

Susan Price has been writing about careers, entrepreneurs and personal finance for more than a decade. She’s been an editor at BusinessWeek, Money, and, among others.