Everyone does it- they accidently say something just out of earshot of an employer or coworker when they are angry. This can be easily corrected because if no one heard it then you can just go and calm yourself down. Even if someone did hear it, with a quick apology it can be swept under the rug and it’s gone. But, what happens when you angrily tweet or post something on Facebook? It’s out there for all the world to see and many times it can’t be removed or at least not until after the damage is done. This is important for everyone but is even more important if you are looking for a job.
We can argue whether it’s fair or even ethical for prospective employers to do cyber background check on you. But, take it from me I know for a fact that they do. I have seen it cause really good would be employees not get the job offer. Heck, I have even seen co workers lose their jobs because of it. It may not be right, it may not be fair, and it may be descriminatory but for now it is a fact and not illegal.
This advice is coming from someone who uses Facebook and Twitter to promote their online writing. I use social media alot and at times I know it has caused questions about me either for perspective employers or for current ones. So, I have to be prepared. Here are some tips that will keep your image safe online:
- Make sure your Facebook is placed on private. Even if you may not think much about personal things you do or an off the cuff joke you posted on a friends page a prospective employer may not be very impressed. Why? Because if you tell all about your personal life, how much of your work life would you tell on line? Would you tell company secrets? Bash the company? So please place it on private and watch some of your comments.
- Don’t put your Facebook or Twitter accounts on your resume. That is giving employers permission to look at your sites. Simply leave them off.
- Don’t post pictures of you partying or doing illegal or questional things on the weekends. The first thing your employer will do is assume that the reason you called in on Monday was because you partied too hard over the weekend and not because you really have the flu.
- Be careful of what you link on Facebook or Twitter. Watch objectional articles.
- Create a resume website or job searching blog and direct employers to there. Once they do this they usually don’t go looking for things. Be positive in these entries andkeep them professional.
Here is a perfect example, a young lady writes articles on vampire related topics- movies, books and culture. People on Facebook or Twitter may think she’s scary or some may think she’s a vampire and drinks blood. Now you have another young lady who has multiple graduate degrees, has taught high school and college and has held a professional position as a counselor.
Two very different images. Two very different impressions. But, what many people may not know is that during the day that person is a professional and a night she uses her graduate studies in sociology to write books and articles looking at the effects of vampires on society. Now which image was tainted? The professional one right?
Well, first off I am both of the above but I am very much aware that I do not bring up my writing except to portray it as entertainment and academic writing. I always block my accounts if I am job searching. I am very aware that there has been and will be a time when it will be addressed. But, by those times I have already proven myself as an invaluable employee.
But, everyone may not be able to prove themselves before HR jumps on the cyber background chase.
So, be careful of what you post online and be able to explain it once it does come up because more than likely it will.
Enjoy your social media but always be aware of what you post and how it may impact your job search.
For more advice or help on creating a resume or website blog in Lexington please contact A Step Above Job Search and Assistance at their website here.