We all post things on the internet these days. Even those who disregard the popularity of traditional social media sites like Facebook or Myspace may very well still be using another site that could be easily traced back to them. Think for a moment about your internet use. Do you use the same “handle” online in multiple places? If someone knew that handle, could they find out a lot about you? Do you post on Reddit or any other user submission sites? What about asking questions of forums for PC repair or car maintenance?
It is incredibly easy to forget where and what we say that can come back to us online. Now more than ever, employers are looking into your “online presence” to see how you portray yourself. Some businesses use this as part of their pre-employment process, and others use it during reviews. Organizations have even caught and fired employees on multiple occasions that were claiming sick, but then posted a “selfie” while at the big game. This isn’t the only mistake you can make when posting online. Here are some common “do nots” that may just save your job,
- Post pictures of yourself inebriated – If you ever end up applying for a family friendly organization that wants to keep a positive image, they will check for this sort of thing. Any images that depict you drinking, doing any drugs, or acting in poor taste may lose you a big opportunity. This goes for promotions as well.
- Brag online about breaking the law – If you break a law, however trivial, don’t talk about it. It doesn’t matter if you meant to or not, talking about it publically could possibly disqualify you from a handful of jobs in government or law offices.
- Post lewd pictures – You would think this is a given, but time and time again I have heard stories of someone’s co-worker posting a picture of themselves on Facebook that left little to the imagination. Even if those images don’t immediately reflect on the company’s image, they will spread fast amongst coworkers and can cause a hostile work environment.
- Talk about controversial issues – Many people use online message boards and public Facebook posts to discuss and debate politics and beliefs. Although you can’t be treated differently for any opinion you may hold (nor should you be) it still shows good tact to hold those conversations to private messages or in person.
- Complain about work – We have all been guilty of this at some point. Venting is healthy, but it doesn’t mean you want a written record of it on the web. If the wrong person were to see it, and send it to your boss, you would be in a world of trouble.
- Pick on Co-Workers – Not only is it dumb, it is cruel. A hostile comment or an embarrassing picture could become an HR issue very quickly.
Let us know what other “do nots” you have seen coworkers do in the comments!