There are so many more than five ways you can slip up on social media, but here are five mistakes that are easy to avoid and quick to fix.
1. No profile photo on LinkedIn.
It’s understandable that some people are private and don’t understand why anyone wants to live their lives out loud in cyberspace. But trust me, there’s nothing creepier than getting a LinkedIn request from one of those silhouettes, no matter whose name is attached to it. Of all the social media sites where a photo is crucial, it’s LinkedIn. This is a professional site, folks. If you want to be anonymous, then you want to be unemployed and you want your business to be invisible. While we’re talking photo—make it a clear, current, well lit, in-focus photo. You don’t have to be in a business suit. You can be casual, indoors or outdoors. You just can’t be the blurry figure cropped from the middle of the line-up from your cousin’s bachelor dinner in 2003.
2. Out-of-date profile on LinkedIn
Even if you’ve been out of work since 2010, you’ve got to fill the time up to the present with something: volunteer work, tutoring, freelance, travel. If you stayed home for a few years to raise a family, explain how you’ve been honing your ability to multitask and organize. Blank time raises questions and prospective employers and potential clients may just fill in the blank themselves and not bother contacting you.
3. Inappropriate photo anywhere.
Certainly, this is advice that Anthony Weiner, a.k.a. Carlos Danger, gives his clients in his new PR practice. To help prevent any photos from that long-ago frat party from showing up in an online search, make sure all your social media channel settings are such that no one can tag you in a photo or post to your sites without your permission. In the meantime, try to remember, no posing nude, no flipping the bird, no bleary-eyed drunken selfies. Seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised what’s out there.
4. Profanity-laden online rants.
Would you pitch a client by dropping high decibel f-bombs in the lobby? If so, then why did you even click on this post? Stop reading and go join the Trump for President campaign. But if not, then why do it on line? What you post, what you tweet, what you video and upload is there for the world to see. If you don’t think your current or potential boss or your current or potential clients will conduct a thorough Internet search before hiring you, then you underestimate their desire not to get burned.
5. No social media profile.
Doesn’t everyone dream of that time when they can unplug and go off the grid? But if you’re still in the workforce, that day is not yet here. What’s worse than someone finding that profanity-laden rant next to the photo of your perfect keg stand? Finding nothing at all. Having no social media profile tells prospective employers that you’re
a. In the witness protection program
c. Too old to understand social media, or
d. A conspiracy nut who hides his tin foil hat under the bed
So, off you go now, get that social media profile in shape!