Ten Internet Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Job Search
Doing a background search on the name at the top of a resume takes an average of 0.15 seconds. With a few clicks, a potential employer can find someone’s sexual preference, religion, what they do on weekends, and much more.
Before your resume is cold on their desk, a prospective employer can know more about you than a longtime friend. And this knowledge might include a slew of reasons not to hire you.
Here’s a list of the ten worst web mistakes that can keep you from landing a job. They include the most common, along with a few you never may have guessed.
This list is adapted from an article that originally appeared at online training.org.
1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Mistakes
Everyone likes to have a good time, yet a single picture of too good of a time can keep you from landing a job. Whether out for a drink with a few buddies or even sharing a kiss with your spouse, pictures only capture a fraction of a second and are left open to interpretation.
An example of the harm a photo can do is that a professional Olympian was forced to quit the American snowboarding team after inappropriate photos of him surfaced. The photos were clearly intended as a joke, but the harm was done, nonetheless.
If you need a little help determining what is inappropriate, click on this Cracked.com article for great examples of what not to do.
That photo of you in your Halloween costume may not be as cute as you think.
Bottom line: if unsure, don’t post.
2. To Blog or Not to Blog?
A professional blog that showcases knowledge and talent can actually help you land a job. But a blog can also cause one to lose a job — or not get one. Be extremely cautious when blogging about your present, former, or prospective employer — or your job search.
3. Facebook = Firedbook?
A helpful feature of Facebook is privacy controls that allow you to restrict full access to your profile to only your friends. However, some information is still publicly available. Facebook can also be a problem if you friend people who can bring trouble for you. For example, an office back stab is even easier to do when it’s over the web, and friending a boss or coworker can be risky.
4. Twitter is Quicker
Potentially keeping you from landing a job in 140 characters or less is Twitter, the micro-blogging sensation. Unlike Facebook, a Twitter account can be seen by anyone. Because messages, or tweets, are so easy to post and so short, a prospective boss can skim through feeds in no time and find any mistakes you’ve made that may keep you from landing a job. This can include pictures, graphic language, messages from your friends, and more. For information on how to make your Twitter account private, click here.
5. But I Only Use Twitter For Good
That’s what Virginia thought when she interviewed at her dream job at People’s Revolution, a high end public relations firm seen on MTV and Bravo. She was so excited about landing the job, she tweeted the experience to all of her friends. Shortly after her interview, an employee at the firm did a random search for People’s Revolution and found the tweets. Although noting negative was said by Virginia, the prospective employer said privacy and confidentiality was too important to them. Although Virginia seemed certain to the land the job, People’s Revolution ended up calling her shortly after to withdraw the offer because of her tweet.
6. Keep Your Comments To Yourself
You may not be internet friends with someone who can keep you from landing a job, but one of your friends may be. A not-so-innocent comment can do more damage than you realize. In one story, an employee told a friend he planned to quit his job just as he was typing his two week notice. The friend then posted: “Congratulations! You’ve finally told that jerk to take this job and shove it!” It goes without saying that after the boss – who was friends with the friend – read it, the two week notice then became unnecessary.
7. Lies Are Now Harder to Cover Up
Have you padded your resume? Did you say you worked at a company you never truly did work for? The Internet may make it much easier for a prospective employer to track down someone there who will deny you ever worked there.
8. Pay Your Debt
Many employers run background checks of employees to see if they are a good fit. If you have any outstanding criminal issues, such as an arrest warrant for failure to appear, pay fines, etc., it can definitely keep you from landing a job. If you think an arrest warrant is like a bully that will go away if you ignore it, ignore it, think again. This site discusses how to see if you have an outstanding warrant.
9. Check Yourself
Before someone else wrecks you and keeps you from landing a job, investigate yourself online. An identity theft, ex-lover, or just about anyone can post anything using your name. If you find something unflattering, contact the webmaster to have it removed or at the very least censored to include only initials and one of those black squares if it is a picture. However, if your name is something like John Smith, you can face a whole new set of challenges, due to the likelihood someone else with your name may make you look bad.
10. Beat Them to the Punch
What to do if your name is John Smith or you are unable to remove something unwanted? Google now allows users to create their very own profile on their site. The page is actually similar to Facebook. Unlike FB, it allows you to control how you appear in Google. The page can include correct information, links, and photos.