The Top 10 Mistakes You’re Making on Instagram

By: Danielle Keller

“Everything is clearer in hindsight.” We see articles all the time saying “The Biggest Mistake You’re Making On Instagram That’s Causing You to Lose Followers!” Articles promising to help you grow your following with posts that are going to wow and dazzle everybody who comes across your page. Substance? Who cares! As long as you throw a nice monochromatic filter on there, and your following is going up, that’s all that matters, right?


But what about those who aren’t looking to grow their social media following? Those who are looking to use their social media for more than just likes?


Today, screen beats paper. What that means is, your Instagram profile essentially acts as a supplemental “about me” portion of your resume to prospective employers. With that being said, I’m pretty sure some of the mistakes plenty of us are making on Instagram are costing us far more than we seem to realize.


Here are the Top 10 Mistakes You’re Making on Instagram…that are costing you more than just followers.


1. Not Having A Profile Picture


This is a big one that seems to be overlooked for some odd reason. How do people know it’s really you? Having your picture on your profile is the first impression somebody has of you when they visit your page. By having no photo, you not only look illegitimate and leave people wondering if it’s really your page, but you look a little sketchy. Why do you have an account in your name if you’re not going to make it your own? Upon making your Instagram account, upload a picture that clearly shows your face to your profile. It doesn’t have to be a professional headshot, but something appropriate and clearly you.


2. Having Your Account On Private


This is something that a lot of people don’t realize raises a red flag when potential employers go to search for you. Private accounts indicate that there is something to hide. Whether you set your account to private to keep your ex from looking at your page, to hide your drunken photos, or simply because you like being mysterious and in control, make it public (and block your ex, already).


3. Leaving Your Bio Blank


This is your time to shine! Leaving your bio on your Instagram profile blank is a ton of wasted opportunity. Use this space to write a bit about yourself: your (family friendly) hobbies, the school you attended, the degree you received or are pursuing, maybe even a quote you like. Keep overly personal bits of information to yourself. It’s okay to be open and candid on your account to an extent. But don’t let this be your version of a diary. Remember: we’re public now.


4. Not Engaging With Your Community


Instagram is an amazing platform that can connect millions of users from all over the world. Users with different backgrounds, hobbies, economic statuses, ethnicities, you name it. You would be doing yourself a disservice by not interacting with those who comment appropriate things on your profile. By doing this, you have the opportunity to show those who are checking out your profile, such as prospective employers, that you’re personable, well spoken and have a desire to interact with others. All things that make you a desirable candidate for an employee!


5. Choosing A Long, Complicated Username


“The username JohnDoe is not available. Would you like to be: JohnxDoex665542x?” That should be a hard pass, John Doe. Search for something that will make you easy to find on instagram. Employers won’t want to dig to find you, and if they can’t find you easily, you may as well not have an instagram (keep in mind, this is also a red flag for many employers). It’s okay to have a number or two, maybe an underscore in your username. But always go for something easier to find and less complicated, like John_Doe or JohnDoe1.


6. Neglecting Your Account For Long Periods of Time


Finding the perfect content can be tough, leading us to not want to post for months on end, I get it. But not all content has to be “perfect”, it just has to be appropriate. You’re only hurting yourself by not posting for the past 2 years because not only does your page no longer reflect the person you are today, but it makes it appear as though you’re basically…up to absolutely nothing. Show off that graduation cap and gown, take an artsy photo of your Starbucks workspace, even a photo of you hiking with your dog. Being a normal person is appealing and surely never perfect, so don’t over think your posts.


7. Being Unoriginal With Your Captions


There are so many trends on Instagram lately that it’s hard to tell people apart. Everyone is talking about the same things, in the same ways, at the same time. Don’t be afraid to set yourself apart and talk about something different that interests you. Going with the crowd will make a potential employer see you as somebody who may not bring anything different to the table.


8. Posting TOO Much


There’s a fine line between posting too little and posting too much. Posting too much can make others question your priorities. “Doesn’t she work?” “Isn’t he supposed to be in a meeting right now? Why is she posting himself on the beach last summer?”  No employers want to hire somebody who they believe will prioritize their Instagram over their workload. Posting on Instagram is like speaking during a group conversation. Don’t do it JUST to do it, do it when you have something beneficial to add.


9. Oversharing


It’s nice to build a little community with your followers, but keep in mind that these people are still strangers on the internet for the most part. Sharing personal information in captions, comments or stories should be kept to an extreme minimum. Be careful what you say because you never know who it could get back to or if that information could be put into the wrong hands.


10. Not Monitoring Your Tagged Photos


Much like Facebook, Instagram has a tagged photo option on each profile where you can view an entire timeline full of the tagged photos of that account holder. This goes back to the beginning of their Instagram. What a lot of people DON’T seem to realize is that you can remove these tags and hide unwanted photos from your account. By going to the tagged photo you want removed from your profile, clicking the “…” button at the top right of the photo and clicking “Photo Options”, you have the option to hide that photo, remove the tag, or report the photo. Take advantage of this feature to really monitor what others see on your account.


In the grand scheme of things, Instagram is a platform that not many people use to their advantage when it comes to their professional life. Take advantage of the resources at hand and use Instagram as a way to connect with your peers, make connections, gain opportunities and put your best face forward.

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