Do You Know Your Online Fingerprint?
There are countless wonderful things with living in the age of social media; catching up with your mate, sharing a photo of your baby with 300 of your closest ‘friends’ and also seeing if that guy/girl is still in a relationship.
However, it’s important to remember that by posting your photos and thoughts all over the internet it goes from a bit of banter with your mates to something more serious – a potential barrier to your career. It is essential that you’re aware of your online fingerprint to avoid not getting – or even losing – your job.
We’ve all heard stories of how social media has gotten people into serious trouble: there was the 16-year-old girl who used Facebook to describe her new job as ‘boring’ only to lose said boring job; the woman who was fired after she threw a sickie, saying she had a migraine and couldn’t use a computer, before posting on Facebook all day; and the New Zealand rugby commentator who accidentally revealed market-sensitive information about his company’s viewer figures on Twitter before being axed by his bosses. Oops. Never forget that your future employers know how to work Google, so it’s perhaps time to change that drunken profile picture on your Facebook.
Oh the CV – where we all boast about our successes, talk of our dedication to our professional lives and claim that motivation is a key attribute. Then, one day in the office, you might get restless and bored so you and your workmates are playing ‘hangman’ while your boss is in the meeting room. Or go in to detail about your drunken night out at the weekend. Which I am sure your mates would love to hear but not your employer.
So, before you embark on your job hunt, Google yourself (for research purposes only) and see what information and imagery is freely available on there. Then tighten up your privacy settings to ensure nobody can see what you really get up to in your free time. You can lock down your Facebook and Tweets and remove blog content if you’re applying for jobs and realise there are things you’d rather keep private between you and 500 of your closest online friends. This way, you can make sure that potential employers are less likely to stumble across reasons not to hire you. You certainly don’t need any extra excuses to land yourself in the ‘no’ pile.