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It may seem obvious, but it needs to be said. Your social media presence can either help your career or hurt it. Employers often check the social media presence of potential new hires and make judgements based on what they find. Often times these judgements directly affect their hiring decision.

Your existing employer probably does not “creep” your social media channel, but your job can be directly affected if a bad post is brought to their attention. People DO get fired because of social media posts that reflect negatively on their company’s image.

CareerBuilder, a website that helps jobseekers connect with employers recently surveyed over 2,000 hiring managers and HR professionals about their companies use of social media to screen job applicants. Here are some of the key takeaways from their survey that every potential job seeker should consider:

1) 43% of employers use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to screen job candidates.

2) 51% of those employers admit that they have found content on social media channels that caused them to not hire candidates.

3) 33% of employers who use social media sites for screening purposes said that they have found content that made them more likely to hire a candidate.

Many would argue that social media sites are here to encourage freedom of expression and it is wrong for employers to make hiring and firing decisions based on that expression. Wrong or right, it is the reality we live in. If you express something publicly, it is accessible by your current or potential employer and they use this information to determine if you are a good fit for their company. That’s the truth.

Although you have the right to express yourself freely, you should be aware of the potential negative and positive impact that your social media postings can have on your current career and future opportunities.

If you have any of the following damaging social media habits, I’d suggest considering the negative consequences they can have on your career:

1.) Posting naked or provocative photos of yourself

2.) Expressing extreme political or religious views.

3.) Posting photos of yourself getting drunk or using drugs.

4.) Using racial slurs, or the promoting hatred and violence.

5.) Discussing your criminal activities or posting photos of yourself committing illegal activities.

6.) Bad-mouthing your previous or current employer and fellow employees.

7.) Showing signs of online bullying.

8.) Constantly posting during work hours.

9.) Talking about all of the high drama in your personal or professional life.

10.) Using curse words and other hateful or offensive language in your posts.

11.) Demonstrating poor communication skills through the frequent use of bad grammar and spelling.

It may seem obvious to many, but I come across this kind of content everyday on social media.

Are there any career damaging social media behaviours that you have encountered that can be added to the list? Please share them in the comment section below.

For more career and social media tips and information connect with me on LinkedIn and join my group Career & Business Leadership Forum.