My parents always tell me, “Once you put something on the Internet, it will never go away.” Not until I started looking for a job and was questioned about what my online persona says about me, did I realize the relevancy of that statement. Nowadays everyone is on social media, including moms, preachers, teachers – and most importantly the people you haven’t met yet. While Facebook and Twitter can be a helpful source of social networking, it can also be a wrecking ball to your reputation.
Even though we all know it’s generally accepted to drink in college, it’s still not something your future employer wants to see. To all the people that think they’re automatically safe because their profile is set to private, I say good luck to you my friend! Nothing is off limits these days. Google employees once posted that, “Your online identity is determined not only by what you post, but also by what others post about you.” Most of the time your first impression is your only impression, so how can you be sure that your personal life won’t get in the way of an opportunity? Though I can’t guarantee your success, I can help you build a better you…at least online.
The Google General Idea
• Stalk yourself! Google yourself and review what pops up. If you run across something you don’t want others to see, you can visit Google’s reputation management tool called Me on the Web. This handy little device helps you separate your online identity from your real one. It connects links from your Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts to keep track.
1. A site made specifically to get ahead in job searching and make connections. There are still What Not To Do’s. LinkedIn experts say not to use status updates or post pictures. Another big one; Do Not list your Facebook or Twitter page as one of your 3 websites.
2. Select a profile photo that reflects the most responsible and professional side of you. It should be simple and clearly show your face. Note to self: the picture of you jumping into the ocean from spring break 2013 is not right for LinkedIn.
On to Facebook
1. Some people may think they’re sneaky by changing their name or the spelling of their name while job hunting, but Facebook is designed so you can search people by their email, school or network.
2. Pictures say a thousand words. Look back through the 5,200 something tagged photos and pretend you are an employer. Judge and critique your every little move.
3. The Red Cup stigma, that little plastic red cup really does say it all, without saying anything. Even though you may only be drinking Grandma’s famous sweet tea, everyone else assumes your drinking alcohol. It’s just engraved in our brains at this point. So, DELETE!
4. Once you’ve gone through and deleted any and all incriminating pictures, it’s time to check that status update a year ago where you subtly called your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend a bitch. It’s time to grow up and get rid of all the comments referring to drinking, drugging and dissing.
5. Check your About section and make sure it shows only the best side of you. Be cautious of posting strong political beliefs or commentary. Stick to being short, simple and direct, they don’t need to know your opinion on every little thing.
Twitter / Instagram
Considering the only thing you can do on these 2 sites is upload statuses and pictures this should be considerably easy, right? Not necessarily.
1. Once again, drinking and saying you’re hung-over doesn’t make you seem like a handworker. Also, get rid of all offensive language and by this I mean curse words, sexual innuendos and drinking.
2. Retweets aren’t off limits, be careful what you retweet because it still reflects you.
3. Debating what tweets to delete can be hard. It’s obvious you shouldn’t talk about getting plastered or doing drugs but what about the tweets that say “I’m such a procrastinator” or “I hate work”. These don’t help you either. No one wants a lazy, procrastinator working for them, so in the future try to talk about all the good things you’re doing and how hard you work!
• Blogs are a great way to show off your writing skills, and a convenient, in your face way to voice your opinions. Just know that each post is a reflection of you. If you are looking for a career where strong opinions are valued, than a personal account can help an employer see the passion and thought process behind your choices. If extreme opinions are not as welcome, keep post topics related to your career or generalities. Tumblr, probably the most popular blog site, is particular in their privacy settings. Unlike most other sites, you are not allowed to make your default blog account private. A way to get around this is to make a second blog a password protected blog account and post your sassy opinions there.
Some of these instructions may seem harsh, and that’s because it’s meant to be. Many bosses consistently check Facebook under a pseudonym to make sure employees are in line. You may never know who’s looking at your sites, but you can control what they see. It’s the 21st century; online personas can be what makes us or breaks us.
Do companies and employers really care about your Facebook and Twitter?
According to ZDNet 56% of employers check applicants social network sites like twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, just to name a few..
Okay, how many times do you log into Facebook or Twitter and see a diary-like status update from an attention-seeking individual. TOO MANY TIMES. Last time I checked, these sites are public and therefore, so is the content chosen to share. WHY would anyone want to share personal thoughts or opinions regarding something that gives them a reputation of the following:
-someone you cannot trust to be mature with your own feelings
Not-so-secret-anymore diary content generally places the sharer into one of the following categories that tarnishes his or her reputation within his or her social media community, which is already full of superficial and actual friends.
Here's the thing, if you're upset or unhappy, take it up with the source whose causing you the personal anguish directly, not by releasing a social media post you hope will be seen by a specific person. If you want the respect or attention your status is screaming to your social media public, you won't obtain it by that indirect and immature approach.
Not only does it tarnish your personal present reputation amongst a semi-fake community of friends, but what about your future and potential employers that come across it? Chances are if any content in a status promotes an individual's reputation as immature, he or she will not receive the job desired, solely on the fact that NO ONE wants to hire somebody who publically vents their feelings and comes off as a potential liability.
So take some advice from an extremely tired Facebook newsfeed viewer, keep the thoughts on paper, not in cyberspace.
Image Source: http://weknowmemes.com/2012/01/its-a-status-not-your-diary/