Think before you post

That profile picture of you funneling probably won’t get you a job

By on December 8, 2010

Sorry, but what happens on Facebook, doesn’t stay on Facebook.

It’s actually a gold mine for your potential employers to stalk you more than you stalk your own friends. My friend told me he and his internship boss searched through applicants on Facebook over the summer to find his replacement and they found one Quinnipiac student on a boat funneling what seemed to be beer in her profile picture. You can guess how that application turned out for her.

My friend’s boss isn’t the only one using what’s easily accessible online for recruiting; 83 percent of employers are using or planning to use social networks for hiring this year, according to survey results released on June 30 by Jobvite, a company that offers social media recruiting products.

That percentage is likely to rise in 2011 based on social media’s growing popularity.

Do you really still have those photos of you sake bombing still posted on Facebook? Or what about that provocative Halloween costume you wanted all your friends to see? Do you even remember that sloppy message you published about smoking weed?

People lose their jobs for sharing offensive or inappropriate material on Facebook too. It’s not just Facebook, either. Professional athletes are penalized for violating league rules against Twitter, such as tweeting during games.

Of course, there are privacy settings for both Facebook and Twitter that allow you to hide personal information and shared content within your network. But does that prevent people in your network from sharing what you publish for the public eye – purposefully or accidentally? Absolutely not. And is it worth the risk of a potential employer digging it up? Not at all.

Winter break is a popular time to apply for jobs and internships. If you plan to do so, spend the time needed to clean up your act on the Internet to present yourself more professionally.

Your online presence is crucial to your job hunt’s success – for some jobs more than others – and it’s not very hard to look like an impressive candidate online. Not only should your social media accounts be set up and used professionally, but creating a webume (Web résumé) also enhances your application.

With free, easy-to-use blogging services like Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and many more, setting up a website containing a copy of your résumé, a general cover letter and links to work published online is a great way to stand out from the pack.

People born in 1991 or later have been dubbed the “Net Generation” for a reason: They know how to use media technologies better than any other generation. But if you don’t see yourself as a part of that generation – in other words, you are someone who repels technology – don’t fret. There is a solution.

You can find step-by-step tutorials for just about any online task with a Google search.

There is no reason to put yourself at a disadvantage when applying for jobs or internships because of regrettable decisions clicking the “share” button. Embrace technology and give yourself an edge.

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About Lenny Neslin

Editor-in-Chief
Email: editor@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @lsneslin
Year: 2012
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: Hanover, N.H.
Dream Job: Sports Illustrated Writer