When you’re applying for a new job, polishing up your resume may not be enough anymore. Rather, you should check what information is out there about you on the web. Facebook profiles are routinely being checked by your future employers. According to a survey carried out by Careerbuilder in 2009, 45% of employers check your social media presence when hiring, and some 35% of employers reported that they have found content on social networking sites that meant they did not hire the candidate. As social media has only grown over the past few years, we can only imagine that this figure would be much higher today.
More than half of the employers questioned said that provocative photos were the biggest factor contributing to a decision not to hire a potential employee, while 44% of employers pinpointed references to drinking and drug use as no-go areas. While this might seem obvious, you can never know what a company might deem “provocative.” It seems wise to keep all content absolutely clean, otherwise who knows what job prospects you are thwarting.
In an even more worrying development in Maryland, a man has recently been asked to hand his Facebook login details over to his employee. He was outraged and made a complaint to the American Civil Liberties Union. As a result the updated policy at the Maryland Department of Corrections states that job candidates won’t be asked to share their login or password
The Bottom Line
Unfortunately, many of us fail to realize that content we post on the Internet is really out there in the public domain. If you do want to continue using Facebook, what can you do to protect yourself from unwanted prying eyes? Be sure you’ve checked those privacy settings. It is sensible to keep any personal content away from the public eye. Also, be careful what you are making available to your networks. It might seem safe enough to let people who graduated from the same college as you view your profile, but this will include several thousand – if not tens of thousands of – people who you have never met nor know, and who may have ulterior motives when checking out your profile. Keep it clean and professional. Ask yourself: would you want your future employer to read this? If the answer is no, don’t post it. There’s really nowhere to hide on the world wide web and you never know who is watching you on Facebook.
Join me live on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 10:30 AM EDT as I interview actor Nadir Hasan about job searching strategies and pop culture. Can’t catch the show live? You can download the show live anytime on free on I-Tunes. (724) 444-7444 Call ID: 115302