MySpace is Everybody’s Space
A friend I spoke to last night mentioned an interesting experience with a college candidate he had considered for a full-time position in his organization. After determining that the candidate possessed first-class credentials, my friend searched for the candidate’s name on Google. He discovered that the candidate’s MySpace pages had contents that were in poor taste and lacked professional maturity. My friend said he immediately rejected the candidate from further consideration.
Many employers search the internet, the blogosphere and social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook for more information on job candidates. Information they gather from the internet on a potential recruit can be very helpful. Quite often, an employer can learn about a candidate’s extra-curricular activities, academic papers, recognitions, scholarships, etc. —information that may not be stated in his/her résumé. In other instances, as with my friend’s experience described above, an employer can discover content that may establish a negative impression of the candidate. Internet search, therefore, can easily provide pointers to a candidate’s talents and to how he/she may portray himself/herself as a member of an organization.
Save Yourself from Embarrassment from your Online Content
Here are three few simple precautions you can take to save yourself from embarrassment during a job search and during employment.
- Clean-up your webpages. Search engines and other archival agents frequently archive content on the internet. Online content is also distributed through web-feeds, aggregators and other circulation channels. It is difficult or usually impossible to retract information you post online. However, you can minimize the chances of prospective employers discovering more information about you by getting rid of any content that may reflect negatively on you. Many professionals are usually busy or are not tech-savvy enough to do a thorough internet search. Further, do not disclose online any personal information (birthday, marital status, political affiliations, etc.) that you will not include in your résumé or mention in a job interview.
- Watch what you write. You do not have any control over the information you post in public domain. Other netizens may distort or misinterpret your thoughts when they quote you or link to your content. As a rule, refrain from writing mean or crude postings, portraying organizations and individuals in negative light, bad-mouthing, plagiarizing content and posting extreme opinions on sensitive topics. Maintain a professional etiquette when posting comments on others’ blogs, in newsgroups and other interactive services. If necessary, use a pseudonym on newsgroups and online forums.
- Post insightful content that appeals to prospective employers. Discuss your personal and professional experiences and present perspectives on topics related to your career interests. Include links to your portfolio, references to papers or articles you may have published, charity events you may have participated in and other content that will supplement your résumé. Organize the details logically. If you are lucky enough, an employer may develop an interest in hiring you after surveying your site. Use a mature, professional approach to enhance your prospects for landing a job you desire.
Employers can eliminate candidates from consideration based on information available in the public domain. In your job search, you can leverage the networking advantage of the internet by being conscious of the professional image you project online. Generate a positive first impression that can complement an employer’s perceptions from appraising your résumé.