Monday, August 27, 2007

Future employers read your online profile too!

KXL Tech Expert Segment for 27 August 2007

Information you share in an online profile is read by more than your friends and family – what a prospective employer reads about you in your social networking profile could keep you from that dream job.

College students are accustomed to sharing weekend recaps, blogs about trips, and photos from parties with their peers … but more and more employers are searching employee hopeful profiles – and are marking an application “no hire” as a result.

According to a March survey by the think tank Ponemon Institute (as quoted by
Thirty-five percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. About one-third of those Web searches lead to rejections.

What can those looking for a job do to keep from scaring off potential employers?
  • Be careful what you post. Details of sexual experiences, use of illicit substances, and frequent drinking may be best left out of your online blog posts, profile updates and photos.
  • Watch what you do write. Even if you “keep it clean”, sloppy grammar and poor spelling could give an employer a misleading representation of your skills and professionalism.
  • Talk to your friends. Ask they respect your privacy in their own profile updates and when posting pictures from parties.
  • Consider an alias. There’s no reason you need to give your real name online, your friends will find you – but employer’s might be unsuccessful.
  • Hide your profile. Sure it’s more fun to let anyone read your posts, but if limited to your network of friends you may keep that hiring manager from snooping.
  • Call in the professionals. Online services such as will monitor what information is available for you and, for a fee of course, work to remove undesirable content – if it’s not too late.

Online privacy requires diligence, careful consideration and constant monitoring. A good rule of thumb is to consider that anything posted on an online profile is not private – avoid sharing details you would not want a prospective employer to use in considering whether or not to hire you.

Further reading:

Have you been rejected from a job because of what you had posted in an online profile? Ever pass up a candidate based on information found online? I'd love to hear from you!

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