Beware: The Internet Can Ruin You

We all know what social networking is right? You sign up for an account such as Myspace or Facebook, become “friends” with hundreds of people you probably never talk to, and update pictures of you and your friends looking like fools. Oh it’s loads of fun. Until you risk a potential job over it.

Today’s employers are researching the online persona of applicants and taking that into consideration over the traditional resume. Resumes tell a lot about a person, but most people embellish and lie to get ahead in the professional world. By going online to your personal profile an employer can see your sex, race, age, interests, and all those drunken pictures you have with your friends. An employer can be on the verge of hiring you, but if your Myspace profile raises red flags about your lifestyle and values then you might as well go back to the beginning of your job search. You are only going to be hurting yourself by adding “smoking weed” to your interests.

The solution: clean it up! I’m not saying that you have to have a boring profile and delete everything that defines you as a unique individual. Just be smart about your choices. When I got back from my trip to Russia I had listed Vodka under my interests. That obviously isn’t the gem employers look for in applicants and so I cleaned up my profile and deleted that interest. I also deleted any pictures of myself holding alcohol bottles or anything that might be too risqué and tasteless. My final step was making my profile friends only. It is now private and employers can only see my main picture and my age. Think of how you would want to be viewed by the people you work with. If you put anything vulgar or crude on the Internet it will most likely come back to haunt you.

Resumes, test scores, and grades are one way of learning about an applicant but the Internet is now the main research tool in eliminating job candidates. Don’t belittle the adult world – they are smart and they will find out your personal information if you let it run free on the Internet.