Just recently, I chanced upon this video in youtube.com. It basically shows that nowadays, employers are becoming more and more tech-savvy and are starting to look into the internet for possible information on job applicants and even current employees. The video basically says one thing: “Employers are in the Online World, Watching”.
But then again, some people like (even love) to point out that this is unethical or even, illegal, that employees can’t do that and that their social networking sites are just meant for socializing and in no way should affect their careers or job performance. I beg to differ but my reasons are another story. Suffice it to say that whether this is illegal or not, it is being done and it is being done more and more frequently. In fact, part of the recruitment processes of some employers involves going online to search for the applicant’s name and to look at their sites. Illegal? Maybe. Unethical? Perhaps. Dangerous (for the applicant)? Definitely, YES.
So, before you go out there and start submitting your resumes and making yourself available for interviews, make sure that you consider your online presence through your social networking site. If you do not have a Facebook or MySpace account (yet), here are some tips to consider before establishing your online networking site:
• Have the right mindset. Always, always bear in mind that in the Internet, almost everything is available to the public. Think twice, thrice or even a hundred times before posting anything that can reflect negatively on you. Is the language you are using obscene? Are you going to post nude or semi-nude photos? Do you think your post will be considered lewd or racial or discriminatory? If you think what you’re going to post will cast doubts on your character, don’t post it. Better to be safe than sorry.
• Make It Private. I can just hear you say, “WTF! Are you kidding me? What do you mean I can’t post these stuff? It’s my site!” Okay, okay, settle down. If you truly can’t help yourself, adjust the privacy settings of your networking site. These settings are available for like Facebook. You just have to click the privacy option that you want (like “only my friends”) and limit the viewing of your profile to several types of people. But I might as well warn you, if your “friends” actually include your potential employer or somebody who is already working for that employer, setting the privacy option will not really do a fine job in shielding you from your prospective employer.
The above are good if you do not have a social networking site yet. But then again, you might already have one. If you have one already, check your site. Go through it with a critical eye and take out anything you think is negative or will prove disadvantageous for you. Remove pictures that you think are inappropriate (as you say, this is your site, you have a right to this one). Clean up your profile, your picture, your language and everything else (like cleaning up your act, but this time, it’s your online act). Better yet, google your name and find out if there’s anything negative about you. If you find one (even if it’s not in your Facebook or MySpace account), look for ways to remove it. Do this regularly until you’re assured that your online presence is how you want to project yourself to the world out there. Best of all, always be prepared to defend yourself just in case there is still anything out there that can “dirty” up your image.
I hope the above helps. Drop me a line what you think about employers looking into social networking sites. Good luck with your job application!