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Don’t Derail Your Career on Social Media


Don’t Derail Your Career on Social Media

A former student asked me to review his LinkedIn page. Unfortunately, he had misspelled his job title. (He wrote: Assistant Communication Coordinattor). When I mentioned this to a colleague, he said that such typos could affect the student’s ability to get hired.    

I received the following direct message on Twitter: “Im a freshman and im definitely gonna need business etiquette skills in the future.” After reading his DM, I agreed!

Social media has significantly influenced the ways we can communicate and interact with others. What hasn’t changed is the importance of writing effectively. You don’t want to make embarrassing mistakes that undermine your professionalism. (Grammarly, a grammar website, studied 100 LinkedIn profiles in the consumer package-goods industry and found that professionals whose profiles contained fewer mistakes also achieved higher positions.)

LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – they all deal in written content, with some allowing more text than others.

When sharing on social media, remember these writing suggestions:

1. Always assume the quality of your writing matters

As illustrated above, there are consequences to making errors. Proofread your writings before you post anything. I know that social media can spur quick commentary, but, at the very least, read your comments out loud before you post. It will take just a few seconds, and you will catch many of your errors.

2. Remember that your postings are part of your professional image.

Your colleagues, bosses, customers, clients and prospective employers will likely check your social media sites. If you use strong negative language, put people down, name-call, or curse, what are you saying about yourself? And why would I want to work with you?  (Additional information on professional image and communication can be found in my new book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes (McGraw Hill, 2017).

3. Understand that what you write in the comment section under articles or posts is also part of your professional image.

This applies to comments on social media as well as on news sites, such as the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post. Comments with typos or crass wording cost you credibility.

4. Don’t try to solve complex issues on social media

When the issue gets complicated or the topic is touchy, stop writing and call the person, if you can. If you don’t know the person, stop participating in the conversation.

If you haven’t proofread your profile and other statements on your social media sites, or haven’t reviewed them in a while, do so now. You may be surprised at the mistakes you find. 

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