It’s very comforting to hide behind clever Twitter handles and privacy settings, but how comfortable can you be online? Potential employers want to know more about you than a few well written paragraphs in a cover letter and a distinguished resume. They want to know more about the recreational you. While it can be argued that some employers take the practice of digging into our online profiles too far, one has to consider the fact that with every new hire, a company risks its image and reputation. So before you send off your resume in hopes of landing the perfect job, be sure to know these facts about your digital identity:
1. If they want it, they can get it: Companies budget to have third parties gain access to your online profiles. While you may think you have the Fort Knox of Facebook privacy settings, there will always be someone who can hack their way through. Do not fall victim to the false security of social media privacy settings.
2. Once you post it, they own it: When we all signed up for the many social media sites we network on, I’m sure we all ignored (but agreed) to the terms of service. One thing we neglected to mull over in those terms was that once we post something to a social networking site, like Facebook, we agree to give them control over that content. That means that even after you delete those embarrassing frat party pictures from freshman year, it is still sitting on a Facebook server somewhere. You can write to Facebook (and other networking sites) and ask that content be permanently removed, but that is a process and does not guarantee positive results. Remember this the next time you update your online profile.
3. Think before you post: Anything a potential employer finds online can be used against you. It’s perfectly find to take photos that capture memories, but be careful about which memories you decide to make public. Create online profiles that you would be comfortable viewing if you were looking to employ someone, place yourself in their shoes before you post.
It is never too late to alter your digital identity. Take the time to go through your profiles and updates, remove things that you think were posted out of haste and bad judgement. After you clean up your act, be sure to push positive content – because at the end of the day, it is better to have good out weighing bad than just a profile full of bad decisions.