In a new survey on behalf of CareerBuilder.com, published by Market Watch, once more it has been proven that employers will check out your online profiles before deciding to hire you or not. Fourty-five percent of employers checked out applicants’ online profiles. The three main reasons why people were not hired after their profile was checked were:
- Candidate posted provocative or inappropriate photographs or information – 53 percent
- Candidate posted content about them drinking or using drugs – 44 percent
- Candidate bad-mouthed their previous employer, co-workers or clients – 35 percent
But Social network profiles have helped candidates as well. Main reasons why someone was hired after checking there social profiles were following:
- Profile provided a good feel for the candidate’s personality and fit within the organization – 50 percent
- Profile supported candidate’s professional qualifications – 39 percent
- Candidate was creative – 38 percent
- Candidate showed solid communication skills – 35 percent
- Candidate was well-rounded – 33 percent
Rosemary Haefner, Vice President of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, recommended applicants to use the power of social networking to both network with employers and convey a professional image of you and to undermine your professional qualifications.
- DO clean up digital dirt BEFORE you begin your job search. Remove any photos, content and links that can work against you in an employer’s eyes
- DO consider creating your own professional group on sites like Facebook or BrightFuse.com to establish relationships with thought leaders, recruiters and potential referrals.
- DO keep gripes offline. Keep the content focused on the positive, whether that relates to professional or personal information. Makes sure to highlight specific accomplishments inside and outside of work.
- DON’T forget others can see your friends, so be selective about who you accept as friends. Monitor comments made by others. Consider using the “block comments” feature or setting your profile to “private” so only designated friends can view it.
- 5. DON’T mention your job search if you’re still employed.
I could add several more tips to maintain your online profiles, but the main, and forgotten in above mentioned advice, is to tweak your Facebook privacy settings. Do not forget that most disturbing pictures of you usually uploaded by your friends are. Friends love to tag you in disturbing pictures, without asking you before. Removing these tags and deleting comments from your profile can be called faceweeding.
Update: This picture circulating to social voting sites exactly proves everything: keep your profile private and do not post anything embarrassing on it because otherwise it will be discovered.
Update 2: According to TheNextWeb this profile has been hacked by 4Chan users but it remains a great example of the damage your profile can do for your reputation.
Author: Franky Branckaute
Franky is CEO, Editor and 21/7 Muppet on Duty at Splashpress Media. Occasionally he even sleeps. More sporadically even he also blogs about the professional online life at iFranky. He also is regular Guest Lecturer on all things blogging and ‘web 2.0’ish’. Follow him on Twitter.