TMI? If in doubt, leave it out! Making social media work for you

• “OMG! I got so wasted last night!!”
• “Blacking out is no fun! How did I get home?”
• “I can’t believe I slept in a field AND lost my shoes?”
• “How did I end up in Hoboken?”
• “Have to go to court today – stupid speeding tickets!!”
• “I hate my boss – I can’t believe what an idiot I work for!”
• “This job is SO NOT worth $25 per hour!!”

Sound familiar? (These are actual posts by the way!)

Recently while at a client lunch I brought up the topic of my younger sister who graduated in May and how I have mentioned to her that her Facebook page is a bit inappropriate while job hunting. Of course, being a recent graduate and crusader her belief is that employers should not be looking at her Facebook page – that is her private life. So I turned to the Head of Digital for a HUGE investment company and said “Do you look at social media when selecting a candidate?” (THIS REALLY HAPPENED and it was less than two weeks ago)

His answer……………….. Drum roll please…………………………………………………
“OF COURSE I DO! For every single candidate.”

Listen up out there. Over 70% of hiring managers/HR managers in the U.S. will admit to rejecting someone because of inappropriate content on the Internet. Nowadays we are consumed with online social interaction. However, we have to remember that anything and everything you post will be seen by someone and that someone may be thinking of hiring you for an awesome job. And when I say everything, I mean EVERYTHING:
• Blogs
• Twitter
• Facebook
• MySpace
• LinkedIn
• Naymz
• Pictures posted of you on other sites – regardless of if they are posted BY YOU

So you have a clean face book page but write a hilarious blog riddled with jokes about the government and your thoughts on communism? TAKE IT DOWN.

Repeat after me…..

Would I hand any of this content to a manager in an interview?
(lather, rinse, repeat)

So what do you do now? (OH THE AGONY)
• Privacy settings (TADA!!!) – make everything that is public facing SUPER private and only accessible by people that you are friends/family with – and even then – be thoughtful about what you post and try to keep it clean. (You kiss your grandmother with that mouth?)

• Google yourself. Seriously. Google yourself and see what comes up. There will be pictures listed that you didn’t even realize were still online.

• If in doubt, leave it out (YES IT RHYMES ON PURPOSE). If you think it might be something that an employer would find inappropriate, simply don’t include it.

• If it includes alcohol, anything illegal (yes stealing street signs and hanging them in your house is illegal), nudity, profanity, anything particularly scandalous in nature, etc. Take it down and/or leave it off. I know you are VERY proud of your “men working” sign you stole in college but again – an employer will not find it cute.

• I understand that you are very passionate about certain topics including civil rights, gay marriage, wars overseas, terrorist groups, healthcare reform, etc. HOWEVER – remember that in life you will NEVER always agree with everyone and perhaps it’s best to leave those topics for intelligent in-person discussions with friends.

• Finally – I understand that in this fantastic world of online communication our ability to communicate has gotten a bit off track. Keep in mind that even though your Blog/Tweet/Post is just a blog/tweet/post, extensive grammatical issues, spelling errors, and slang can often be a turnoff as well.

Views: 135

Comment by Charles Van Heerden on July 13, 2010 at 12:43am
Hi Kelly, your post should be compulsory reading for candidates. I am sometimes a little surprised with the number of obvious spelling errors in LinkedIn profiles.

The lines of social media are becoming so blurred and I fully agree it is better to err on the side on being cautious. Unfortunately some people are in denial or believe that their private life should be private, yet have little control over pictures their friends add to Facebook.

The fundamental truth here is for candidates to actively and prudently manage their reputation, not let it become a scrap book of sorry pictures or confused tweets.
Comment by Charron Myers on July 16, 2010 at 5:49pm
Nice work! I hope they heed the call to clean it up!


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