Social media mistakes Millennials make

With the national youth unemployment rate above 15 percent, it seems as though Millennials are struggling to lock in full-time employment. The sluggish economy is partly the blame. Misusing social media accounts is also seriously hurting Millennials.

The social media diet
Last week, the Chronicle reported on Kim Lehmkuhl who quit from her Pleasant Hill city clerk job after using Twitter when she should have been taking notes. The post provoked questions around social media etiquette at the office and left some wondering who’s at fault. The reality is that companies pay their employees to do a series of tasks. And unless those tasks involve managing the corporate social media accounts, there is no reason to be on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram during work hours.

The only time it’s acceptable to jump on social media is during the carved out morning, lunch, and afternoon breaks. During these windows, people can choose to spend their free time as they wish. However, sharing observations about company politics on social media is never a good idea and can have serious negative consequences.

The background check
Background checks no longer begin after a candidate receives a job offer; they begin when a candidate becomes a finalist for a position. Because running a traditional check is expensive, companies are now putting a lot more emphasis on the initial screen. Potential employers are verifying work habits by perusing social media accounts. They are reading blog posts, status updates, tweets and re-tweets, and glancing over YouTube channels.

Before starting a job search, Millennials need to update the security settings on their social media profiles. They should ensure only friends can see comments and pictures, and they should refrain from engaging in flame wars with people they don’t know. In fact, they need to try to not get into any altercations with anyone on social media; hostile behavior in any form is off putting and will scare away any future employer.

The glorious reference
The best reference can be diminished by a negative search result on the web. Aside from securing their social media accounts, Millennials need to put their name through an Internet query and go through the first ten pages of results. They should not limit their searches to Google — they should also run searches on Bing and Yahoo. Each search engine ranks information differently and will yield diverse results.

If negative information is found, contact the website’s administrator to have it removed. In some instances, legal assistance will be needed; it will all depend on how responsive the website manager is. Some sites will not remove information in any case.

Social media can be very addicting. It may help some Millennials to view each social media impulse as a craving; cravings last eight minutes, then fade. Taking time to consider how a video, picture or anecdote they are about to share may affect their future will keep them from losing out on an imminent opportunity.

Belo Cipriani is an award-winning author, former staffing professional, a spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind and the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University. Learn more at

Belo Cipriani