Are You Making These Mistakes Online?

The more time you spend online the more careful you have to be about what you say and do.  The fact is that many employers are turning to the online world to see what potential employees are really like.  Everyone knows that you have to be professional when you apply for a job.  You have to say and do the right things.  But employers want to know who their employees really are so they go online and see what they can find.

What will employers find out about you if they start searching for you online?

Here are some of the biggest mistakes that people are making online these days:

  • They leave their Facebook Wall unprotected so that anyone can go and look at it.  Is your Facebook Wall wide open?  I have to confess, I have been known to check out potential clients that I work with when I know their first names and I have definitely been known to check out my children's friends and see what kind of people they are.  Thanks to the archiving of Facebook I can go back months to find out what they did at Christmas break, who they hang out with, and what is most important to them.  So, if I can find out things like that how easy do you think it is for potential employers to do this?  I beg you, please go and check to make sure your Facebook Wall is protected!
  • They have social media accounts in their real names that are open to the world.  There are other places out there besides Facebook and I'm sure that some of you know about them.  Twitter is the most obvious but there is also Hi-5, Bebo, MySpace and many others.  So, if you have one of these accounts are you sharing your real name on there (first and last?) and what are you revealing about yourself.  If the info is out there to find, employers are likely going to find it.
  • They post pictures of their wild vacation in Mexico and the awesome party they went to on the weekend. This stuff does not need to be public people!  Once again, protect your stuff!  Don't let just anyone view it.
  • They talk down about the places they worked for in the past.  If you worked for ABC Co. last year and had a bad experience, don't share it online.  Other companies might see this and think that if you talk that way about these companies, then you are likely to talk that way about them.  They don't like that.  Keep your venting conversations off line or in private messages.
  • They talk about stupid things they get away with at work.  Really people - no one needs to know that you got away with a five minute snooze while the boss was outside of the office at a meeting.  This is not something to brag about.  
  • They forget that their "friends" are not always their friends.  Have you ever heard of the 6 degrees of separation?  Well, one of your friends might just know the owner of the company you applied at and casually mention that you have a habit of getting drunk every weekend.  They aren't like a real friend that would have the common sense not to be spouting off about that.  Your "friends" online are not always the kind of friends you want to have, so even if you have your social media accounts protected, remember that people talk, so use common sense.

The bottom line is that when you socialize online, you are putting yourself out there for the world.  And that might prevent you from getting that job!