The Dangers of Social Networking Websites While on the Job Hunt
So you stayed up all night perfecting the music loop of Beyonce’s All the Single Ladies and adding a nice starry background to your MySpace page. Luckily, you only need a couple of hours of sleep and prep time to be fresh for your interview tomorrow, right?
Even if you have the energy of 20 four-year olds after a lunch of caramel apples and skittles; you have your best interview outfit pressed and ready to go for an early-rise; and, even if you have researched your potential new employer and position with great detail…you may have made a dire mistake. You have a social networking website.
You might want to rethink what you put out on the Internet. Check out this story: My Space Can Get You Fired! – it has some great advice on what to watch out for as you proceed with social networking and your professional life. Indeed, you should be aware of all information about you on the internet.
Know that information in the Public Domain, such as most information on the Internet, including some items you might perceive to be restricted, can easily be Googled by an employer. In fact, that’s a great place to start.
Have you ever Googled your name? Try it. Go to www.google.com and type your name in between a pair of quotation marks (i.e., “Bob Smith”). This will insure that the name is searched in that order with that spelling. Too many people with your name? Try adding your city, former/current employer, or other defining characteristic that might be searchable on the internet. To be certain it uses this added search term, include the plus sign before the search term(s): “Bob Smith” +Houston (for example).
If there is anything questionable in your search results, it’s time to start CLEANING UP. If you have a social networking profile on MySpace, Facebook, or something similar, click on the link you get in the search results and see what your public profile displays (make sure you’ve logged out before you ran the Google search). In most cases, even with your profile set to have restrictions for access, people can learn a lot about you via the information on there. What is your screen name? Who are your “friends”? What is your hobby? Is your status update included? What does it say?
I was surprised to find out that people could read supposed “private information” if we happened to share the same “network” on Facebook (in my case, it was my undergraduate university). Shocking! So, do some research and clear your internet name. Employers will and do search in our new tech age and you don’t want to be fired before you even get the job!
Danny Zendejas is the Hospitality Business Consultant for Workforce Solutions in the Houston metropolitan area. He has over eight years of experience in the hospitality industry and workforce development and is a native of San Antonio, Texas.