If you are on-line – you are public property. That’s the hardest thing to get teens and other people to realise.
Last week I was helping the son of a friend redo his resume. He had been out of High School for a few months and couldn’t work out why he wasn’t getting any interviews.
His resume didn’t help with his interests listed as “partying with my mates, gigging with my band and extreme sports”. Mmmnnn every company wants to hire a drunken layabout who will either come in after no sleep or hungover … or if they do turn up they are carrying an injury from their sporting prowess.
The funny thing is that this is a really nice well-behaved kid who doesn’t do that sort of thing as a rule – but the words he had chosen for his resume could be misinterpreted.
I searched for photos of him and turned up photos of him on “MySpace” and “Facebook”making less then useful choices.
Job mystery solved. He now has a revised resume that shows all the brilliant community work and leadership roles he has adopted. The photos are harder to fix (Google has a long memory) – so his mates are taking down the bad and loading a few more photos of him showing what he is normally like and the good stuff he does.
Seth Godin also talked about this experience with a colleague who was hiring a housekeeper. They Googled the three candidates names and came up with the following:
The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, “binge drinking.”
The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, “I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I’m annoyed by it. I’ll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings.”
And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.
Three for three.
Google never forgets.
The bottom line is everyone from the age that that are allowed to access the internet should also be taught the essentials of online branding.
You need to manage your appearance on the net. If you realise that you are always “on stage” and nothing you place on the net is off the record then you are better placed to move forward with life in a positive way.
For employers – if you are looking for people for jobs, then certainly check out your preferred candidates on the net. It can be an eye-opening experience.
However, similar to any reference check if you find something negative I suggest discussing your findings with the candidate to hear their side of things and not automatically discount them. That’s simply natural justice in play.