There is no doubt that the Internet can be a great tool for anyone searching for a job. From researching potential job opportunities to filling out applications online to networking through social media sites, in many ways it’s easier to go about finding a job these days than it was even 10 years ago.
However, the same tools that are so helpful can also be harmful if you’re not careful. Anything that you do online is pretty easily tracked and that means that employers can find out a lot about you very quickly. Unfortunately, there’s no real clear line between personal and professional on the Internet so it’s important to remember that anything you do online is fair game for potential employers. Make sure you keep your online brand intact by doing the following:
Limit your “friends.” Don’t accept just anyone’s friend request on social media sites. People who are trying to judge whether you’re a good candidate may look at your connections and equate you to the people you associate with. So make sure you’re not accepting requests from random people.
Keep your posts neutral. It’s tempting to want to use social media sites as a sounding board for your opinions. But if that’s how you choose to use them, you should realise that potential employers may see what you’re saying and view you as a liability. If you post things they disagree with or find inappropriate, they may feel that you will reflect poorly on their company’s brand and they may not want to take that risk.
Be careful about your actions. You want to make sure that any photos posted on social media sites are only visible by people you know (or that no photos are available), especially if they don’t present a very professional version of yourself. Also, if you’re “liking” or subscribing to something silly or playing games online, realise that employers may not view this favourably, especially if they think you’re spending a lot of non-productive time online during work hours.
Remember, not all employers will feel this way, but if you’re in the middle of a job hunt or trying to get promoted at work, why give them a chance to count something against you? Sometimes, it may even be wise to temporarily deactivate your online social accounts if you’re worried about companies searching for you.