Guest Author: A nationally recognized resume expert, Jessica Holbrook Hernandez is President/CEO of Great Resumes Fast and a former human resources manager and recruiter.
Social networking mistakes can really come back to haunt you when you’re job searching. Don’t think that just because you’re on Twitter and Facebook complaining about a boss—or posting less-than-professional status updates—that it means a current and/or future employer won’t see or read what you’ve put there.
You need to be aware that information that is put out on the Internet, in general, can potentially be seen by anyone. Don’t get caught thinking that just because it’s social media that it’s casual. Be protective of your social profiles, especially if you’re the type of person who shares personal information on Twitter or Facebook—and even more so if you complain about your boss, make negative or derogatory statements, or post anything that you wouldn’t want brought up during a job interview.
Those responsible for hiring will do their research, they will Google you, look you up on the Internet and LinkedIn, and they will check out any links that pop up in their searching. Don’t think that just because you’re not sharing it on LinkedIn that they can’t find it either. Curious about what they can find out about you and what you can do if you’ve made a few “oopses” online?
- Start by completing a Google search on your name. This will tell you what the most popular links are about you out there on the Internet. If you have digital dirt, start right now getting it cleaned up.
- Set your personal social networking profile to private. Seriously private. Set it so that only your accepted friends—and no one else—can see what you’ve posted on Facebook.
- Be smart. Don’t post things on social media you wouldn’t want brought up in an interview. Even if it’s on your Facebook page and it’s set to private. You never know who knows someone, who knows someone …You have to be careful and protect yourself.
- Make sure no one else by your same name has crazy horrible things out there that are popping up in search results.
- Begin using your middle initial on your resume and in any job search-related documents. By using your middle initial you are avoiding any confusion between yourself and someone with some potentially damaging information on the web.
When you’re in a job search you really have to think beyond your resume and employment applications. With technology progressing by leaps and bounds on a daily basis, you have to be diligent, intentional, and proactive. Do your research to make sure there isn’t any digital dirt about you out there on the Internet—and stop making simple social networking mistakes (like over sharing) that can really get you into hot water.