How social media can hurt your career

How social media can hurt your career

By Benjamin Juru

The advent of social media, the internet, instant messaging has created numerous opportunities for us mere individuals to have a voice, to hear and be heard. We have become content creators and consumers at the same time and with that we have an opportunity to create a strong personal brand online at no cost at all. I want to share a few thoughts on how you can leverage on social media to create a strong professional brand and highlight why it’s important for you to do that.

1. Have a professional email address

First things first, if you’re professional desist from creating email addresses like,, they do not represent your brand properly. Imagine applying for a job with an email address like that and having it on your CV, no one will take you serious and you’re only jeopardizing your chances. An email address should be simple, easy to remember and be linked to your name, gone are the days of Hotmail when everyone wanted to look cool with kind of email ads.

2. Avoid posting funny pictures on social media

The beauty about social media and Facebook in particular is that you get to share your life with your connections, your friends and relatives but none of us are aware of the downside of posting funny pictures on the platform. These days companies, potential business partners are “Googling” you before they interview or engage you, and when you google an individual Google picks up images you uploaded on social media and the question I will ask is will they be comfortable viewing your pictures? Imagine a prospective employer going through your pictures? your potential business partner? I’m not saying stop uploading pictures but when you do make sure they portray a good image of yourself and as they say always put your best foot forward.  No funny pictures if you’re serious about building a strong personal brand. Here’s a snippet of my Google image results

Benjamin Juru Images

3. Be on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great professional platform for you to enhance your professional brand and unlike other social networking sites, it is a unique platform for professional branding. If you’re a professional and not on LinkedIn stop whatever you’re doing and go and sign up. The benefits are numerous, you connect with likeminded professionals, your expose yourself to potential employers, you create business linkages, the benefits are so many and you can read some of them here. When you’re on LinkedIn have an up to date profile, a professional profile picture and make a detailed list of your skills. The other unique advantage of having an up to date profile is that LinkedIn ranks highly on the SERP or Google search results compared to Facebook, Twitter etc. So make sure you put your best foot forward with your LinkedIn profile. PS have your proper name, current position, skills and professional picture there!

4. Manage what you say

Most of us tend to get carried away with what we say on social media, at times we post content that is derogatory, insulting, offensive and even racially discriminatory. If we are to build a strong personal brand online we need to be extremely careful on the things that we say for one day it might be used against us. Imagine a tweet you sent 2 years ago being pulled out during your interview? Imagine how embarrassing it could be. In this digital age nothing is sacred and they are no secrets that even the courts now have jurisdiction over stuff we upload and or say. If you’ve nothing to say on social media you’re better off not posting anything than upload something to your own detriment.

In conclusion I encourage you to Google yourself NOW and see what comes up, if you’re not happy with it then immediately work on it and present yourself in a manner you find appropriate. Everything we do online ultimately ends up with “Uncle Google” and it’s easy for us to find out the places you got to, the videos you upload etc, everything is all being captured and let’s hope you’re happy for the world to have a peek!

(image credit: blackenterprise)