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The dangers behind careless posts on social media is by no means a new topic. A quick Google search will reveal hundreds of articles on the subject; all of which essentially convey the same message: once you click post, that information is in the public domain forever, and if you haven’t been careful about what you say, it could leave your reputation - and your career – in tatters.

There are a number of very obvious things to avoid when it comes to social media. Don’t post racist comments, don’t share posts that could incite violence, don’t be defamatory about another person or institution, beware of stalkers, scams and trolls. Ultimately, if you’re posting content on social media, you need to understand that even one throwaway comment that you only ever intended to share with your closest friends, could get into the wrong hands and end up causing a world of trouble.

If you’re on a social media group, WhatsApp, for example, keep an eye on what other people are posting. If somebody else in the group posts anything defamatory be careful to quickly distance yourself from these comments. Remove yourself from the group or post a message indicating that you find comments like that unacceptable.

In this day and age, most job seekers – and employers – are active on social media platforms. If you’re looking for a job, the content you post on social media will almost certainly be searched by potential employers – and if you’re not careful, it could cost you a job.

Increasingly employers are using social media platforms to screen potential employees which means they are making decisions about what kind of person you are based – not on your CV – but rather on the content on your social media profiles. Even more frightening is the fact that a number of them will base their hiring decisions on what they find.

What employers like about these social media background checks is that it allows them to see if you are the kind of individual who conducts yourself in a professional manner and if you would align to the company culture.

Things like inappropriate photographs, evidence of drug or alcohol use, poor communication skills, making derogatory remarks about previous employers or prejudiced comments about race, gender or religion as well as lying about qualifications should all be social media no-no’s if you care anything at all about your reputation.

That said, employers are not only trying to trip you up when they search your profile, they’re genuinely trying to find out more about you outside of a professional environment. This means that as much as careless content can damage your reputation and take you out of the running, posting mindful and interesting content could win you the job of your dreams. 

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