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Damaging Your Job Prospects with your online activity – Tweeting yourself out of a jo

Discussion in 'Domain Name News' started by Acorn Newsbot, Jan 30, 2013.

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  1. Acorn Newsbot

    Acorn Newsbot Junior Member

    Jan 2006
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    You may have heard the story in January 2013 of the young man who was turned down for a work experience placement with his local MP. However the rejection was not because of a lack of skills or experience, but because the student involved had already broadcast his indifference to the job on Twitter.

    The MP wrote to the pupil to say that although his application had been perfectly acceptable, the “attitude to your school and life in general on Twitter is inappropriate”.

    Just a childish mistake by a teenager trying to be clever?
    It would be easy to excuse the young man’s behaviour as immature posturing. An attempt at bucking the system and looking cool to his friends. But as the MP pointed out in his letter of rejection, "Please be aware that your entries on social media reflect on you, and that potential employers do take them into account when considering your interest. Responsibility does matter.”


    Is this a one-off? Many businesses now routinely undertake credit and background checks as part of the pre-employment process. And part of these investigations includes checking publicly accessible social media profiles for examples of questionable attitudes or behaviour. 40% of companies polled as part of the 2012 Annual Technology Market Survey admit they check social media profiles of candidates routinely, and one in five rejected application because of what they discovered. And these figures are repeated with increasing frequency in studies across the world.

    Some businesses even conduct annual reviews to ensure that staff continue to uphold the values of the company in their own time.

    Things to avoid
    The Internet has a global audience, meaning that your indiscretions can be seen from Birmingham, to Beijing, to Brisbane, to Bogota, and everywhere in between. It is therefore essential that you carefully consider what you are posting before you click the “Share” button. The following are definite no-nos:

    •*Photos of obviously illegal activities such as rioting, drug taking, or firearms (yes people really have posted these to Facebook before)
    •*Nudity and drunkenness also tend to be poorly regarded by would-be employers
    •*Racism, sexism, and hate speech.
    •*Most employers also take a dim view of swearing and crude language – how do they know you won’t use the same in front of their customers?
    •*Insulting employers past or present. It doesn’t matter how badly you may have been treated; no employer wants to believe their staff may broadcast similar things about them.


    If ever in doubt, ask yourself, what would my grandmother think? Would you be proud to show her that tweet/update/photo?

    It is also worth remembering that anything you post to the Internet is effectively permanent. Just because you think you have deleted that naked picture, or dodgy joke, does not mean it has gone forever. Whatever you share on Facebook or tweet on Twitter will stay online somewhere forever, waiting to be turned up by a pre-employment check anytime into the distant future.

    Some employers may also check the time and date of your tweets to check whether they were sent during working hours. Social media is often regarded as a waste of time by businesses, so to find a candidate wasting their existing employer’s time will be viewed as a strike against your application.

    One final note. An ancient proverb suggests “a person is known by the company they keep”. When carrying out a background check, most employers will also check the comments left by your friends online, many of whom may share items from the no-no list above. Should they find anything untoward, as unreasonable as it may seem, you may end up being tarred with the same brush and out of the running.

    Using the web to get ahead
    With the boundaries established, you can put the Internet to work for you in trying to find a job. There are a number of invaluable tools available for reaching employers, creating useful professional relationships and for getting yourself noticed. Here are a few ways to get started:


    Designed to be a professional networking tool, LinkedIn allows you to create an online profile that acts like a CV and that can be found by recruiters and employers. Use the wizard to create a complete work history, and then to link with former colleagues.

    LinkedIn also allows you to see recommendations from previous employers and colleagues, which can also be added to your profile. All of this goes together to create a detailed portfolio; acting as your storefront for recruiters to discover.

    There are also a number of communities with which you can share your knowledge and demonstrate your expertise. These are also a great place to get yourself noticed, particularly as recruitment consultants now spend many hours each day trawling LinkedIn for candidates to fill open vacancies.

    Twitter allows you to connect with people across the world using short messages to share interests, knowledge, and useful information. Many businesses and recruiters also broadcast details of jobs using Twitter, giving you instant notifications of relevant roles.

    If you have your heart set on joining a particular company or working in a specific field, you should search Twitter to identify relevant contacts and network with them. Ulrike Schulz has a fascinating tale about how she used Twitter to land her dream job in London.

    Keep it simple – be sensible
    Ultimately, using social media properly is simply a case of using your common sense. Think before you post – what would I think if I saw that from someone I was looking to employ?

    Good luck, have fun, and keep it clean!


    Image Credits:
    Twitter Unfiltered: bioxid
    I send pointless little messages: tomboone
    LinkedIn pen: The Seafarer



  2. Domain Forum

    Acorn Domains Elite Member

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