Social Network Life Can Come Back to Haunt You

Alex Dobrota has written an excellent article warning social network junkies on the professional pitfalls that can come with their posts on social network sites like MySpace, Facebook and YouTube.

From the article —

Social networking websites are the latest craze. They can be helpful tools for job hunters, but be careful: Those photos of all-night parties can backfire if a potential employer stumbles upon them.

Minutes before the unwitting job candidate walked into his office, Brad Karsh decided to go on-line to do a background check. But instead of using Google, Mr. Karsh logged on to Facebook.com, one of several so-called social networking sites that have sprung up on the web.

What he found was a shocking self-portrait of the young man he was about to interview.

“It said that his interests were ‘smoking blunts with the homeys’ and ‘shooting caps. . .'” — slang expressions for smoking marijuana and shooting people — recalls Mr. Karsh, the president of a small Chicago consulting company.

“I’m assuming that he was joking, but it said to me quite a bit about this man’s judgment.” And, it was enough for Mr. Karsh to disqualify the summer intern hopeful.

The article goes on to give the following tips for users of social networks, who want to practice safe networking online —

Use privacy settings: Most sites have privacy settings that allow access to your site only to those who have a password or special authorization, or to users in your network.

Use a pseudonym: If you must post questionable pictures or information on-line, never do it under your own name.

Search yourself: Don’t assume that because you haven’t posted something, somebody else hasn’t done it for you — and in a way that could come back to haunt you.

Post positive information: Turn your profile into an on-line résumé. If you choose to make your profile publicly accessible, clean up what you might have had in there, and post information about work experience, hobbies, flattering pictures and insightful comments about anything from current events to your industry.

Post selectively: If you must post a critical comment of your boss or of your company, refrain from mentioning names.

Keep in touch with old classmates: On-line connections can be instrumental for your career. Former classmates can be an easy connection — and a great resource about job opportunities.

Source: Globe andMail.com