While technology can be a huge help to job searching and life in general, it is now something else to be conscious of when applying for positions.
Most of you have likely heard by now about the need to use Facebook’s privacy settings to protect yourselves from criminal behavior such as stalking, but did you know that many employers are now using social networks to screen potential job candidates? CareerBuilder recently surveyed over 2,600 hiring managers and found that 45 percent of the employers use social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, and blogs to help evaluate candidates. Thirty-five percent of employers reported they have found content on social networking sites that caused them not to hire the candidate. The top examples cited include:
Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
Candidate showed poor communication skills – 29 percent
Candidate made discriminatory comments – 26 percent
Candidate lied about qualifications – 24 percent
Candidate shared confidential information from previous employer – 20 percent
Even if you don’t have anything questionable on your social networking pages, you should also monitor your friends’ comments. The people you spend time with reflect on you, whether positively or negatively, and a potential employer will likely not give you the benefit of the doubt.
The email you list on your resume or use to contact potential employers should be professional (preferably your name or something similar). If necessary, create a new email address specifically for professional contacts. You should also never use emoticons (smiley faces) or text messaging language (such as “lol”) in emails to potential employers.
If you are tech savvy and interesting enough to have a blog, this is another issue to consider when job searching. Follow the same guidelines as Facebook: no inappropriate photos, no mentioning how much you hate your current job, and please, please use correct grammar and spelling. There is no point in telling a potential employer about your stellar attention to detail if he or she is able to clearly see that you don’t know the difference between “there” and “their”.
Finally, Google your name and see what information comes up. I searched my name and was linked to my Facebook and LinkedIn profiles, the website for my current employer, my marriage announcement, and volleyball networking sites (where I had posted a note several months ago looking for a team). Safe enough. Check your own and make sure no red flags appear.
The moral of the story is to just use common sense with your online presence. No one else is going to fight for you to get the job you want. It’s up to you!