Do some spring cleaning – online

BELGRADE - JUNE 13, 2014 Social media website logos Facebook, Twitter and other printed on paper

I was talking to a friend the other day about her job search. She told me about several job opportunities she had where she was pretty certain things were looking good – interviews had gone well and the roles seemed to be a good match.

Somehow the offers went to someone else. She was beginning to get discouraged. To make matters worse, she never seemed to get any meaningful feedback on what happened.

So I asked her ‘Do you use social media? What do you do there?’ She replied ‘Well yes, of course! I am on Facebook and LinkedIn mostly. I use LinkedIn for career networking and Facebook just for fun – staying in touch with my friends and family mostly. Do you think that might have something to do with it?’

I didn’t say ‘Bingo’ but I was tempted.

Many people think just this way. They use LinkedIn as their career persona and manage it carefully. But they use Facebook like it was just a place they hang around in – let their hair down, so to speak.

Your current or prospective employer draws no such distinction. And rest assured they are searching the web regularly to find out about you. Don’t leave this out when you manage your career reputation or ‘brand’.

A recent Microsoft survey found that 70% of HR professionals in the US have rejected a job applicant based on what they found by searching online. It’s not just Facebook either – a web search could yield other interesting information about you; public records like real estate transactions, arrest records, court cases, marriages, divorces, etc. That’s the point.

Back to my friend for a minute. “There is nothing really bad about me in Facebook – just silly stuff. Mostly there are pictures of us having fun together and things like that.”

Oh really? Any potentially unsuitable photos/videos? Things about your lifestyle? Or maybe some inappropriate comment you threw out there? Do you put political satire or views out there? Then be prepared for the fact that someone in HR may not have the same opinion.

“So what can I do about it?” she asked. Here is what I told her…

  • Use Facebook privacy settings thoughtfully
  • Decide what you want to be public and what you don’t
  • Do some spring cleaning. Check your posts and pics – it might be time to pull some of that stuff you thought was cool a few years ago.

Yes it IS that important.

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