For those of us anxiously searching for internships or jobs in this not-so-promising economy, take note: Employers are now surfing online content and social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace more than ever to review potential employees. For those of us who don’t carefully monitor what we post online, that could spell trouble.
According to a recent survey released by Microsoft, more than 70 percent of employers have rejected an applicant based on what they have discovered online. However, only a meager 15 percent of web-users surveyed said that they have actually considered the potential negative consequences of posting online content.
Common sense tells us we should delete pictures of our embarassing escapades from Facebook, and that foul language should be kept to a bare minimum, if not eliminated altogether. A helpful piece of advice is to view your Facebook profile or tweets through the eyes of your parents—whatever they would find offensive or strange, your employers would as well. Questionable hobbies should be deleted as well—“sleeping in class” under your interests, for example, might seem funny and harmless to you but it can sound off a warning to your employer.
Before panicking too much about what you post online, consider this: in the same study, 86 percent of HR workers said a good online reputation could actually make a positive impact on your hiring chances. Create a professional LinkedIn account that showcases your experience and talents, and follow influential professionals on your Twitter feed. You can even create a blog that highlights your experiences and provides links to your resume and portfolio. Whatever you do, make social networking work in your favor, not against it. If you can accomplish that, you’ve done yourself a world of favors and may have just increased your chances of landing the job.
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