Will Facebook Prevent You From Getting the Job?

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook
Image via Wikipedia
If you're an avid Facebook-er or Twitter freak or if you have a MySpace account you and you are looking for a job you should be thinking about what employers might learn about you from your online activities.  Think that they wouldn't be bothered to check?  You're wrong! According to Ars Technica, employers are spending more time checking out potential employees and current employees online activities:

...the numbers reflect a twofold increase over those who reported doing so in last year—45 percent in 2009 versus 22 percent in 2008—and cautioned that many employers choose not to hire based on information they find online. Facebook was the most popular site for researching job candidates this year—no surprise there, since Facebook has exploded in popularity as of late. "Professional" networking site LinkedIn came in second at 26 percent, MySpace came in third at 21 percent, 11 percent read blogs, and seven percent followed candidates' updates on Twitter.

In the past year there have been several instances where people have been fired for their online activity on YouTube, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  Comments, pictures, and status updates are all examined.  But how many people have not gotten jobs because of what potential employers can see on their social networks?  It's something that can't actually be measured – not at this point anyway.  But employers admit that there they don’t hire employees because of information that they find on their social networks.

Here are some of the reasons that applicants are not hired:

·         Photographs that show partying, drinking, drug use
·         Negative comments about previous employers
·         Revealing photos with too much skin
·         Sexual comments
·         Comments others make
·         Pictures that others put up

What can you do to protect yourself?

If it is possible to set privacy standards on your profile.  On Facebook you can set it so that only friends can see your pictures and comments and you can even exclude certain groups from seeing them.  On Twitter you can lock your tweets so that people can only see them after being approved.  Google yourself once in awhile and see what is coming up.  Be aware of what pictures you are being tagged in and remove tags when necessary.  The best thing you can do is keep your private life private though – you don’t need to share everything on the Internet.

Social networks can be a great tool for finding a job but if you’re not careful they can also hinder you from getting and keeping that job you really want.
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