Monday, July 6, 2009

how social networking harms your career prospects

I've only just got into the whole facebook malarkey now that the kids have moved onto some new social networking site I have yet to hear of. It's great the way you can check out what your mates are up to without having to make a comment back. It's a clever concept, apart from keeping in touch, it's sanctioned eaves dropping. I can see how I could get obsessed with checking it every hour which is why I have to be careful when I get into something due to a mild compulsion disorder I have.

Most of my mates have funny, daft photos of themselves on their profile, like big curly pink wigs and clown glasses with cleavage hanging out (that's just the blokes) and half of them look like they're in a pub, well into a session with a glass of wine in hand with occasional fag for good measure. Which is all just innocent fun and what harm, eh?

I was talking to a friend of mine recently who recruits for a major software house and she was telling me that social networking has revolutionised the way they recruit in the past year.
So when she reads a CV the first thing she does if she's interested is to check out their online status. So onto google, facebook, linked in, bebo and so forth until they find you and form their first impressions of you. If they find you have an interesting blog or chase a trail of comments based on a subject you are knowledgable about that earns you big brownie points, before you even meet them. Chances are they won't disclose that they checked you out and have already decided what kind of character you have and whether you're coming in for interview or not.

Risque, saucy pictures of you having a pint may not be consistent with the blurb on your CV about being a conscientious worker or whatever serious image you are trying to portray. I'm not implying that a silly pic will rule you out and neither should it. A saucy pic might even help!
An example of this working is the recent local elections when a young pretty politician surprisingly got elected, after the massive media coverage she received when a facebook picture of her was unleashed on the public in all the press. It looked like her mate was having a feel of her ample cleavage and whilst this no doubt boosted her popularity with the male electorate, I'm not sure if it was the image she was trying to portray and she can never got that image out of the public's mind. Wouldn't you just cringe at the thought of your mum or employer seeing that?

How many people have phoned in sick at work and then got busy online, probably even posting that they pulled a sickie at work only to discover the next day that their boss had seen it too and had evidence to sack them.

You proabably have considered this aready and I know I sound dull but I just wanted to bring it to your attention how crafty employers are getting at sussing you out. So check out your 'digital dirt' and clean it up if you can.

And unless you are applying for a children's party entertainer probably best to leave the pink wig hen night piccies where they belong and get that lovely graduation photo out.

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