It’s a funny one, this online addiction we have. On the, one hand we’re disgusted by the idea of Big Brother watching over us, often to the point that we come out in droves to protest any signs that the state is able to watch us and look into our lives, whether that be through security cameras or ID cards. Of course, this is completely understandable.
However, what makes these protests ironic, misunderstood and, in truth, completely non-understandable is the fact the same people will post every detail of life online. They’ll tell Big Brother where they are eating lunch, who’s house party they are going to on Friday, show them what they are wearing today, what they had for breakfast and the funny position the dog fell asleep; not a care in the world for the online profile they are creating.
What’s more, it isn’t just the state or Big Brother that is watching. It is also the gatekeeper’s to any potential job you are eyeing up. What do we mean? Well, if you apply for a job, the first thing your potential employer is going to do is Google you. They’ll check out your professional history on LinkedIn, see what your interests on Twitter and try and get a better understanding of your personality by looking on Facebook. In fact, over 75% of employers have looked up potential candidates through these avenues.
As such, we’re here to help you clean up your image, smarten up your profile and make you seem that little bit more professional in the eyes of anyone who may be looking.
Your Privacy Settings Aren’t Absolute
We’re not saying you should drop your guard and open the floodgates because employing the strictest level of Facebook’s privacy settings is an imperative place to start. What we’re doing is warning you that this doesn’t mean your profile now has an impenetrable force field that employees wouldn’t be able to get through. They can and they will. The reason for this is simple. The world is a pretty smaller place, and becoming even smaller with the rise of social media. As such, if your future employer is a friend of a friend – or even a friend of your dentist’s, dog walker’s aunty – they may be able to see some of your profile. As such, it is a wise idea to keep this in mind at all times when you are posting things. It may be harmless fun, or even funny, to all those that know the context, but it may not be so hilarious when taken out of that context and scrutinized by people able to misjudge as a person. It is a pretty full-on move to make, but we recommend you suspend your social media accounts for the duration of your job hunt. After all, you don’t want to miss out on that promotion or pay rise because of a drunken picture of you wearing a tutu and makeup.
Try Googling Yourself
That is what your potential employers are going to do, so why not see what they are going to see and act first. Search your name, look at the results, look at the photos, read what the pages say. The more that is out there, the more that can do damage, so clear up your digital footprint before applying to roles. But it isn’t just potential employers you should be wary about. The more information out there about you – especially stuff you have posted – the easier you will become a target of advanced social engineering. If you’ve never heard this term before, we recommend you educate yourself as a matter of urgency. But in short, it where someone will use your information for fraudulent purposes. For example, if you post a photo that says you’re out walking your dog called Jessop, then you have just possibly given a potential attacker the answer to your internet banking security question.You never thought of that, did you? We didn’t think so.
Tone It Down A Bit
One of the most popular ways of using things like Twitter and Facebook is to use them as podiums for outbursts and rants. We use them to voice an opinion, political views, unhappiness at electoral votes and to air our dirty laundry, and we do it to an anonymous audience, not completely sure of how far our reach stretches, or aware of how a simple share or like can draw in more viewers. Of course, if you are using it for positive reasons, maybe to thank the person who chased you off the bus to return your wallet or to praise the customer service at your local Post Office, then fine. You are building a positive opinion of yourself. But if you going the other way and bad-mouthing your manager for calling you in at a weekend or giving you a disciplinary for something completely unreasonable, you are painting a rather negative picture and one that could put off potential employers. Everyone is less than six moves away, according to the laws of separation anyway, so keep that in mind before posting your rage online.
Give Your Online Profile A Good Spin
Why not use social media as a means to show off a bit, show any onlookers that you are smart, caring, philanthropic, educated, interested and interesting. Got a LinkedIn profile? Then why not start sharing fascinating articles about the subject you are interested in? Or why not get into blogging? These will certainly impress those worth impressing, and the more you impress them before the interview the better chance you have. They will have a predetermined opinion of you, a good one, and that can be half the battle. It would be like settling a case before you even get to court. Qualities that you should be trying to excel in, or at least show off, include knowledge, leadership, creativity, motivation, professionalism and enthusiasm. Remember, having the right skills on paper is one thing, but employers often look at the person. The reason for this is a short one: skills can be taught but a character can’t.