The Internet has opened doors that we never even knew existed a few decades ago – today, it is easier to find a job because of the abundance of opportunities online. Job forums and portals allow both job-seekers and employers to post their resumes and jobs respectively, and it’s easy enough to find employees and employment if you offer the right salary and working conditions and possess the right qualifications respectively. However, there is a downside to this convenience, one that could ruin not just your reputation at your current job, but also your future prospects in the industry as well. What most people forget when it comes to the Internet is that there could be disastrous consequences when they don’t use it responsibly.
Today, almost everybody has an online presence – some stop with just an email address, others venture into the waters of social networks as well, and yet others open up their lives through their blogs. We give out so much information online, forgetting or not realizing that it could be used against us in various ways – identity theft, credit card fraud and a host of other scams are perpetrated on the Internet, simply because people seem to be more gullible online. To put it in a nutshell, we live in a glass bowl that offers little or no privacy at all, and unless we’re careful about the data we share online, we’re bound to be in a lot of trouble.
A survey by UK-based job site Career Builder shows that at least 53 percent of employers check Facebook and other social networks to verify the credibility and suitability of potential employees before they hire them. So if you have a Facebook profile or are active on any other social network, it pays to think twice before you put up pictures that you wouldn’t want your employers seeing or write status messages or comments that would be considered inappropriate in any workplace. You may believe it’s your private space, but when it’s the Internet, it’s as public as it gets, and unless you know how to enforce every privacy setting there is, you’re likely to land yourself in hot water.
Very often, the carefree and sometimes callous nature of youth eggs you on to extol your follies and indiscretions – you don’t realize that a random photo of you with a drink in your hand could be the reason a potential employer rejects your application; you’re not a drunkard, you just like your Saturday night fun, but then, you end up being judged by that one picture. You’re not aware that a stray comment or status message could be offensive to potential employers, especially in today’s world where you’re supposed to be racially and politically correct so as to avoid being accused of discrimination and abuse.
And so your words and actions come back to bite you in the butt when you least expect them to, and because of your past behavior, you lose out on a future job prospect. Very often, you don’t even realize that your application was rejected based on information that was gleaned from the Internet. It is because of this that you need to manage your online identity for potential employers – you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not, just remember that your private life is private and does not need to be shared online with the world and sundry. It shows you in poor light with potential employers, and worse, it stays somewhere online forever, leaving you to worry about it popping up some time when you least expect it to.