Think your Facebook profile is private? Think again. Think your tweets are protected? Think again.
It may be true. Your social media may be set to entirely private settings. But what we often don’t realize is that Ctrl/Apple+C, Ctrl/Apple+V is a very powerful tool. Copy and paste is all it takes for your information to no longer be private.
It may not be such a big deal for your information to get out there if all it is costing you is some nasty looks from your grandma, but it will matter when you don’t get hired for a job or when you can’t even get an interview for a job.
According to research done by Harris Interactive and commissioned by CareerBuilder.com, close to 50 percent of employers are using the Internet to research job candidates before interviewing or hiring. Thirty-five percent of the human resources professionals surveyed said they found information on the Internet that caused them to not hire a job candidate.
Those are big numbers. And they will only continue to rise.
It may seem unfair for employers to breach privacy by checking out our profiles before an interview or hiring, but it is reality. Your profile precedes you. With a growing population of college graduates filling resumes with multiple internships, volunteer work and marketable skills, employers need to look elsewhere to find information telling them if a job candidate is really worth the money. A r�sum� simply cannot tell an employer very much about a candidate’s attitude. The r�sum� can’t tell them what kind of person they are hiring. A r�sum� is the robot version of you.
Your identity on the Internet tells an employer about your interests, your attitude, your passions and perhaps most importantly, how you interact with others. And if you don’t think your online identity is a fair representation of the person you are in real life, it’s time to rethink what you are sharing.
That being said, it’s okay to have a voice. It’s good to have a voice, in fact. However, every time you type something, think twice before clicking “share” or “update.” Does what you have typed represent you? Does it represent you in a way that you feel comfortable defending?
Nobody is going to condemn you for sharing photos of your Saturday night, but there is a certain level of discretion needed when it comes to sharing. There is a fine line between a little bit of fun and a little bit of vulgarity. Keep it PG-13. Your grandma will be glad you did. And you’ll be glad when you score the perfect job.
Don’t let this all scare you into thinking you shouldn’t be on the Internet at all. You need to be present on the Internet. When an employer Google searches you, they should be able to find you. You want them to find you. The same study showed that 18 percent of employers find information on social media sites that cause them to hire a candidate. This is of course, a much smaller percentage than those deciding not to hire, but the more responsible we all learn to be on the Internet, the higher this statistic will soar.
Go ahead, Google search me. I admit my Twitter feed is not the epitome of all that is perfect in social media.
The fact of the matter is companies are no longer the only ones who have to protect their reputations. Showing that you have a handle on some of the most basic forms of social media shows, in a certain sense, that you are living in modern “in the now” and that you are taking in all that modern technology has to offer.
You might think Twitter is the bane of your existence and it’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever seen. You may be right, but what Twitter can do for you is connect your name to something intelligent. Show your future employers that you are interested in current events or sports or entertainment. Or show them you’re witty. Just avoid being obscene and try to avoid the ever-popular smiley-face emoticon. Remember there’s a “remove” button for when you’ve realized your sharing is inappropriate.
Not going into a media-related field? It doesn’t matter. Communication runs across all industries. We communicate through speech every single day. Social media is no different. Learn the basics of proper Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn etiquette and you should be golden.
Jaimie Chapman ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in journalism.
Editing errors in the original copy were corrected. Some letters were incorrectly accented.