One of the biggest changes to job hunting in the past couple of decades is the increasing presence of social media. Social networks have opened new channels for connecting with professionals and searching for jobs (LinkedIn, anyone?), but they don’t come without risks. While we all want to be ourselves and speak freely, there are a few things you should avoid posting during your search.
It should go without saying that such sentiments can harm your professional reputation. It's also flat-out harmful to others; don't do it.
Most of us have experienced burnout, work stress, or a job we flat-out hated, and it’s natural to want to vent. But before you search for the latest Tik Tok earworm to accompany a video about your ridiculous boss or demanding company, remember that your future employer could be watching. Without context - they don’t yet know your work ethic and judgment - speaking poorly about a current or former job isn’t a great look. It’s important to note that this doesn’t apply to whistleblowing; if you’re calling out racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise illegal or immoral behavior, you may want to speak up. Some companies may still shy away from your candidacy, but that likely put them into your “no” pile, anyway.
Looking for a new job is, as they say, a full-time job in and of itself. It’s exhausting, it can be upsetting, and it puts you in a position of feeling interrogated and judged. It’s fair to feel annoyed when you don’t receive quick updates or when you don’t get a call for a job you know you’d love. Sharing observations or general frustrations about the process is okay; commiserating about the challenges of the hunt can be a great icebreaker on LinkedIn. What you shouldn't do is rant about how recruiters are terrible at their jobs, your last interviewer doesn’t know what they’re talking about, or anything else hurtful. As with the point above, calling attention to unacceptable or harmful behavior is fair game but should be done with care.
Social media helps us connect and stay in touch, so it’s natural to post about fun times with friends. While the corporate world should have a blanket understanding that everyone has a life outside of work, not every company has caught up. For some roles, even an innocuous photo with a beer at a barbecue could cause concern. Whether you want to obscure that type of info is up to you and will depend on your field. Regardless, nothing illegal should ever be viewable to the public.
While you may be comfortable sharing about your health or family, you likely don’t want to share it with your interviewers or future boss.
Make good use of privacy settings on platforms that have them. On platforms with less-robust privacy options, before you post, ask yourself if you’d be happy to discuss the topic in an interview and use your best judgment.
This article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of Fairygodboss.
Krystin Morgan is a Seattle-based recruiting leader at a rapidly-scaling tech company, the owner of Amplify Career Services (a resume writing and career support company), and most importantly a mom to a beautiful (human) baby girl and elderly black lab.
© 2022 Fairygodboss