Be Careful What You Post Online

What are you posting online?

Can having a blog, a personal web site, or an account on a social networking site impact your job search, for better or for worse?

Yes, it could. With the growing popularity of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, LavaLife and other dating sites, just about anything that is online can be read by someone – or everyone.  If you don’t want the world to read what you’ve posted, make sure they can’t.  Don’t put it online, or if you do, post it anonymously without a picture.

Should prospective employers be reading your personal information?  Maybe not, but if you put it on the internet and it’s readily accessible, they can and they might.

A study done by the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) reveals that more than one in 10 employers responding to their Job Outlook survey reported plans to review profiles on social networking when considering candidates for jobs, and more than 60 percent of employers who review social networking sites indicated that the information could have at least some influence on their hiring decision.

At New York University, recruiters from about 30 companies told career counsellors that they were looking at the sites.  They look to see if there is something about a potential employee’s lifestyle that they might find questionable or which goes against the core values of the corporation.

Companies such as Microsoft and others involved in the digital world say that researching employees through social networking sites was now fairly typical.  Joe Spartz, of the Employers Association Inc. said that “It makes a great deal of sense for an employer to go ahead and get creative about the sources they are turning to to get that information.”  The internet is an incredible vehicle by which employers are able to gather information.

People may never know when they have been passed up for an interview or a job offer because of something a recruiter saw on the internet.

If your profile contains information on your real identity, the people you least expect, and those that you certainly don’t want reading it, may find it.  Not only your boss and prospective employers, but, also your customers, colleagues and coworkers.

Some years ago I found one of my clients online at a dating site and what I read there would have eliminated her for any of the positions she was looking for.  I immediately reached out to her to suggest she remove the profile while she was job searching.

Remember…the more information put on social networking sites, the more tempting it is for recruiters and hiring managers to check out potential employees.

If you aren't sure what an employer might see about you, try googling your name and see what comes up.

To your job search success

Fran Watson

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