Social media can get you fired - MyOnlineRep
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Social media can get you fired

Social media and other online reputation management icons

Social media can get you fired

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Social media in the work place is a minefield. What you post, like and share can determine whether you can get and keep a job. And even if you keep your job after engaging in negative online behaviour the damage done to your personal brand and online reputation can be permanent.

Across the United States, UK and Australia around 20 percent of businesses fired an employee in 2015 because of something they posted on social media. That’s one in five people fired because of their online behaviour. In the United States where people assume they have a right to free speech the number is believed to be even a little higher.

Yet at the same time as we are being warned to watch ourselves online we are also being encouraged by our bosses to be active on social media and promote our company’s products and services. After all, content shared by employees get 561 percent more reach, are re-shared 24 more times and receive 8 times more engagement.

So how can businesses and employees find the right balance?

Have a social media policy

A clear policy about online behaviour is in everyone’s interests. It sets clear guidelines for employees and ensures the company is on the record as having set clear parameters. If your company doesn’t have one, push them to create one. This way everyone knows where they stand.

Remember, it starts before you even land the job

Somewhere between 75 – 93 percent of recruiters report checking online profiles before completing a short list and a survey conducted by found that half of employers discovered something from an online search that made them not proceed with a candidate’s application.

For bosses there are five key turn offs:

  • Inappropriate or provocative photos, videos, or information
  • Posts about candidates drinking or using drugs
  • Offensive comments regarding race, religion, gender, etc.
  • Negative posts bad-mouthing previous company or co-workers
  • Poor communication skills.


So remember that your online reputation is like a permanent resume that can be checked anytime.

Differentiate between social media platform

Each social media platform serves a distinct purpose. Facebook is for friends and family while LinkedIn is your professional outlet.

So make sure you have clear objectives for each platform and keep your content relevant. Use LinkedIn to promote your academic and career achievements while leaving Facebook for the social updates.

But remember, employers will be able to see all your content so work to keep even your personal posts in good taste and consistent.

Have a presence

It’s tempting to think that the easiest way to avoid any trouble is to have no online presence at all. Big mistake! Around 40 percent of employers say they will bypass a candidate who has no online presence.

In the digital world an online presence helps to answer some basic questions of identity and reputation. So if you don’t want to be a social media nut at least cover the basics with a professional LinkedIn profile so that people can find you and learn what you’re about.

Want to find out what your boss knows about you? Get your online reputation score

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