Do You Google Well?
Do you want your prospective employer to fall in love with you at first Google? It’s important to maintain a positive online profile when considering a job search. More and more employers are including Internet searches of social networking sites such as Myspace.com during routine background checks. The results can be very telling, with today’s 20-something regularly referring to drug use and heavy partying in their profiles.
Is it Legal?
The legal ramifications are still sketchy. What you do on your own time is your business, and can not preclude you from a job. However, an employer wants to know that the person they are hiring can present a good image of himself, and the company. It’s difficult to have faith in a person who posts scantily clad pictures, or boasts about how they’re always hung-over. If you can’t handle yourself with decorum in a public forum, how can an employer have faith in you in a work capacity?
Though technically an employer can’t turn you down due to an online profile, it can help them to realize other problems with your eligibility for the job. If you are neck-and-neck with someone who has a flawless online presence, who do you think will get the job? It’s not discrimination if the other person is equally (or better) qualified. And more likely than not, you won’t be told that the pictures of you in a thong at your cousin’s frat party were discovered in the first place.
I Just Wanna Have Fun
Go for it. Your behavior outside of work is your business, but keep it just that—your business. Don’t share pictures of you behaving idiotically on the Internet. If you have a networking site, don’t use your real name, or at the very least password-protect for members only. Create fake usernames. There are lots of ways to fool around and get stupid without jeopardizing your career.
Consider the e-mail address you use to apply for the job. If you don’t already have one, get an e-mail address with a professional-sounding or neutral handle. No one is going to give a job to luvtohump69@yahoo. (Well, you might get one kind of job.) And keep in mind that an employer can search the e-mail address as well as your name, so don’t use an e-mail address attached to a Myspace profile, whether or not you use your real name.
If you’re conscious of your online presence before launching a job search, you’re giving yourself a leg-up on the competition automatically.