Could social-networking sites hurt or help you get your next job?
Hiring managers and college administrators are starting to review social-networking sites and blogs as part of the applicant review process. Based on what they find, it can have a serious impact on your chances of getting hired or admitted to your preferred learning institution. Be aware of what you post, and how it will be viewed by potential employers or admissions counselors.
If you must have a “free-spirit” MySpace page (or one of the other social sites), then take a few precautions to protect yourself. You should restrict access to these sites and use a nickname rather then your real name. Make sure the pictures you upload and the captions used do not use your real name or other obvious identifiers.
Reviewers tend to go back through the last 5-10 posting and then view posts by topic cloud, categories or complete site searches. You do not want words like “Drunk”, “Partying”, “Cheating”, “Fired” or other negative words to be in your tag cloud, or categories, if it displays you in a negative light. Watch your language as well! This can be a huge turn off for potential employers.
Really it comes down to this: if after you reviewed the site, would you trust that person with your livelihood?
A better idea is to use these tools to promote yourself. Turn social-network sites and blogs into sites that you want potential employers or admissions counselors to visit. Keep this in the front of your mind, especially when blogging, as you frequently post on varied topics.
Write about your industry or other areas that might interest potential employers or admissions counselors. You can have your site show off areas of personal interest, community and positive self growth. If your passion is of a more divisive area like politics, then be fair in your writing and do not demean people that do not share your vision.
Again, potential employers or admissions counselors are not looking for people that will polarize their environments.
Take time to write your “about” or “profile” page carefully. This is another great area to capture the interest of potential employers or admissions counselors. Do not regurgitate your resume or work history. Use this space to do a bit of “personal promotion”, but keep it realistic.
Since I have been reading more blogs, I have come across posting of people who received job inquires solely, or partially, based on their blog. This is not common but the trend in increasing. Combine a sold blog, or other social-networking site, with well written profiles on job sites (if applicable), and you have a good foundation for someone to gauge your online life.
Remember that once posted on the Internet, you should assume that it will always be on the Internet. What you post is your responsibility, so exercise it wisely and to your advantage.