By James Racer II
Companies are often skeptical of employee’s claims on their resumes, and with good reason. One unethical employee can damage the reputation of an entire company of otherwise great people. This is why some employers are using the web to research applicants. Through Facebook, Twitter, and other social websites, people make their personal lives freely available to the world. Why wouldn’t an employer use that information? If you announce to your friends on an increasingly public Facbook post, how much you hate your current job, or slack off at work, why would you expect other employers to want to hire you? Some people have even gone to the extreme ends of bad judgment and announced publicly that they have cheated on tests while earning their degrees. It shouldn’t be news that what you say and do on-line can affect your life off-line, but for some it still is.
This is why the idea of personal branding is important. It gives people a concept to keep handy when socializing online. We want people to think of the internet as a channel that people (including current and future employers) gather information about you. The way you read reviews of products and search for information before making purchases, is essentially the same as an employer doing a background check before hiring you. You may not think of yourself as a product that can be bought and sold, but you probably want to be paid for your work, which is just another way to say you want to sell your skills. So think about what an employer would see if the went to the web looking for a brochure and review of you.
Be honest about what you do, and let people (and employers) know that you know where the work and play boundaries are. Think about it. If all that people see of you online is your fun side, how are they to judge you in any other way? Your boss may also be party hound in their spare time, but they still want to know you won’t be calling in hung over on Monday mornings. So use the internet to your advantage. Make an online presence that highlights all of your skills and ethics, not just your most embarrassing moments. Your future bosses will thank you.