How I Almost Lost A Job To MySpace & Facebook!
Well I didn't. But I was in charge of hiring and interviewing an intern who might have, if we weren't such cool employers. MySpace.com and FaceBook.com use to be a place for teenagers and college kids. But that's changed over the last few years. You have grown adults that frequent these social network websites and it's actually encouraged by the owners of these sites because it just means more revenue for them.
Myspace.com is pretty much a place where you can let it all hang out, literally! Have you seen some of the pictures on those Myspace pages? If you haven't, ask your perfect teenager to show you their Myspace page or those of their friends. Screw it, try doing a search for some of your adult friends. Trust me you'll be shocked to see what they have on their pages.
Ummm…What does this have to do with Work At Home?
Well guess what? Employers are also searching all the major networks in addition to checking out your resume. I know because that's exactly what my over-zealous co-worker did with this intern we planned to hire. Needless to say we found some interesting things such as a few provocative pictures and some mention of those “herbs” with medicinal properties. (Wink, Wink) But fortunately for her we were still very impressed by her resume and what she could bring to the table that we just giggle it off like school girls. I can't say that other employers will do the same.
Why Are Employers All In My Private Business?
Well you see, anyone can lie on a resume. Anyone can also hire a professional resume writer that would make an incompetent idiot seem like a shinning star. How do you think some of your former or current managers got their jobs? (I know, it was a cheap shot, but I couldn't resist.) But I digress. The point is Employers are trying to find other ways to differentiate candidates especially in competitive markets like work at home. Let's be honest. There are tons of people with similar skills like you unless you have some specialized training in certain fields such as Medical Transcription, Affiliate Marketing, Graphic Design, Writing, etc. So employers look at social networks to eliminate the vast number of similar candidates by making value judgments on them based on the content of these social networks!
Is it fair? Not at all. But at the end of the day, they have the power and you want the job. The Internet has made the world a smaller place for better or worst.
So privacy is an illusion. It's definitely unfortunate but it is the reality we face. Big brother is here and watching. I bet the book 1984 doesn't seem all that far fetched anymore, huh?
Ok, So Let's Be Solution Oriented!
It's really easy to Google your name or to visit popular social network sites and dig up information on you. This is assuming you use these networks or have information readily available on you out there. When in doubt use this to your advantage. Just do a search for your name to be on the safe side to see what's out there. If you do participate in any social network then the key is to provide good stuff to find about you. You can join as many networks as you want. But you should follow the advice that you give your kids. Don't say, do, or in this case write anything that you would be embarrassed to have an employer read. It's really that simple.
If there are questionable things out there on you, try to get it down if you're in control of it. This is all about portraying a professional image. Remember my article about establishing a professional image with your email address? This is pretty much the same principle.
For you savvy folks, make your Myspace and Facebook pages and profiles private. But even with that precaution your information can be hacked. So it's better to air on the side of not putting anything out there that would incriminate yourself in the mind of an employer. Another thing you may want to consider is using an “alter ego” on these social networks. This way your Myspace or Facebook pages aren't under your real name. So that's another solution.
It's crazy that you even have to think about this stuff as if finding work at home isn't hard enough. But as my loyal subscribers know I'm here to give you the straight facts so that you can make use of it to better your chances of working at home. Some of you may think this stuff is trivial but can you really afford to take the risk especially considering how difficult it is to get a call back from work at home employers. How can you be certain that this isn't one of the reasons you haven't heard back from many of the jobs you applied to?