Facebook Can Affect Your Job Search Success
As a college professor, I see students spending hours every day on Facebook. Now, let me by perfectly clear, Facebook is not a terrible thing. I even have a Facebook presence of my own. However, some days what I see on people's pages as I walk by suggests that they are not very discreet in what they share with the rest of the world. It is one thing to share photos of your antics at last night's pub crawl, but quite another if those same pix capture the attention of a job recruiter. They might not be impressed and you could lose the opportunity for that all important interview. You see, what you post on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook is a reflection of your level of maturity and sense of discretion. Your lack of good judgment in what you post could be interrupted negatively by a potential employer.
So you are saying to yourself, "what employer or human resources consultant has the time the look me up on Facebook"? Well you might be surprised to know that in a survey done in 2006 by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, 11% of those surveyed said they actually had gone online to check an applicant's online presence. And a survey by CareerBuilder found that 63% of hiring managers admit to not hiring someone based on the information they found about them online. So it is a real issue. Your level of privacy is on the decline because of the internet and care must be taken with what we share about ourselves. We are not talking about stalkers or sexual predators here. We are talking about those employers you want the opportunity to impress in an interview. Don't lose the chance because of some foolish disclosure of personal information you never intended or imagined would be used in such a way. And beware of blogs as well. There have been cases where applicants have posted less than complimentary comments about their bosses on their blogs. Such posts are intended to be read by others. What if one of those "others" is an employer whose vacate position you have applied to. Think he or she wants to take the chance of a similar rant being posted later about them? Another opportunity lost.
But the situation isn't as hopeless as you might imagine. Only share those very personal photos with your friends; remove the public designation and make them for a private group. Create a public profile that displays you in a positive light. And remove those caustic tirades concerning past bad experiences with people in authority, personality conflicts, negative co-workers or customers. A mature approach would be to spin these in a more positive way, describing what was learned from them and how they have made you a stronger, more productive employee. Use your social networking presence and blogging as an advertising tool for what it is about you that an employer would want in an employee. Build a professional online profile, one that promotes you and not restricts your opportunities.
You need to know that most of the job opportunities out there these days are never advertised on job boards or at employment centres. Use your Facebook and MySpace tools to network with potential employers. Turn that tool that could have hampered your job search success into one that raises your profile online and displays you as a good human resource investment for a company's future. Take every opportunity you encounter to network amongst those that may hold the key to your career success. The next person you talk to might be the one that recognizes you for what you have to give and how valuable an employee you will be in contributing to their future success.
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Raymond Foster is a college professor that specializes in career advancement techniques.