Over 70% of employers check social media profiles of their job candidates, and most of them continue doing so after a person’s been hired. 

So, whether it’s about social media or careless online behavior overall, let’s take a look at some common mistakes that could cost someone their job. 

Disregarding Old Accounts 

Primarily, when considering someone for a job or a promotion, most employers do a thorough background check. This means that any old posts, compromising photos, or insensitive opinions could resurface. It isn’t the only problem, however. 

Even if old accounts haven’t been picked up for the background check, they could still pose a threat. Not only to the account owner but to the company they’re working for as well. 

An old account that hasn’t been used in years can easily be broken into because of weak, old passwords. If it is connected to a currently used email, it could jeopardize the email account. And in turn, all other accounts connected to it, including the company’s.

Posting Online without Giving It a Second Thought 

Just on Twitter, people post over 500 million tweets per day. And there are countless Facebook posts, Instagram pictures, etc. Most of these posts are not well thought out or not thought out at all. 

Online privacy is becoming a growing concern, and more and more people are paying closer attention to their privacy settings. This is often not enough, however, and won’t hide compromising posts on personal accounts.

Even with all the privacy settings in place, everything posted online can be accessed. Whether the account has been hacked, or a friend without proper privacy settings has shared the post, any status update, picture, or video can easily be seen by others. 

This is why it’s crucial for everyone concerned about their job (and their privacy) to think twice before posting something online. That includes social media accounts, gaming accounts, forums, online reviews, etc. 

Careless Online Behavior 

Mistakes that could cost someone their job are often not related to the things posted online. The biggest issue for most companies is when their employees are reckless and put the company’s cybersecurity at risk. Human error is the main cause of data breaches. In the best-case scenario, an employee who’s made a mistake will be fired, but lawsuits and other consequences aren’t uncommon. 

Phishing attacks often are the number one problem. Employees click on random links from their office computers and compromise the company’s security. Not following the BYOD policy, and accessing sensitive files from unprotected personal devices is another problem. Personal devices often don’t have proper cybersecurity measures in place. 

Another issue is with hard-working employees who spend their commute finishing a task. The same goes for remote workers who have no choice but to work from public libraries, cafes, and so on. Here, the problem is the public, unsecured network. Public WiFi doesn’t have encryption, and it’s easy for anyone with basic skills to intercept the connection. This allows them to monitor the device, gaining access to sensitive information. 

Avoiding Mistakes 

It’s crucial for everyone to stay vigilant. Carefully considering whether it’s appropriate to post something is a must. As is thinking twice before opening a suspicious email and clicking on links, even if sent by a friend. 

Relying on VPN is essential for remote employees or those who like to work during their commute. A VPN provides users with a safe connection to any network. It prevents any intruders from monitoring the users’ activity. The connection is hidden and encrypted, essentially making any public WiFi as safe as a private one.

The big question on most people’s minds is usually this one: are VPNs legal? A few countries have tried to ban VPNs, but for the most part, they’re perfectly legal and safe to use in most places in the world (read more about it here).


For those who’d like to get a job, or keep an old one, it’s crucial to avoid some of the common online mistakes. Staying up-to-date with cybersecurity trends, thinking twice before posting something, and analyzing potential weaknesses could save everyone a world of trouble.