Employers can Google!

Think before you post! 

Every time you write, video or podcast something online, you are leaving a digital fingerprint of ourselves for the whole world to see.

It’s timely advice for job seekers at a time when recruiters are looking up job applicants on social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga and Friendster, where they’ll often find risque photographs and provocative comments from candidates about drinking, recreational drug use and sexual exploits in what some mistakenly believe is relative privacy.

The New York Times cites the example of Tien Nguyen, a senior at the University of California, who was struggling to get job interviews after completing his studies.

A friend suggested that Nguyen research himself on Google. He found a link to a satirical essay, titled Lying Your Way to the Top, that he had published on a website for college students. He asked that the essay be removed. Soon, he began to be invited to job interviews.

“I never really considered that employers would do something like that,” he said. “I thought they would just look at your resume and grades.”

In the information age, the English language contains five times more words than it did during Shakespeare’s day, more than 3,000 new books are published each day and apparently a weekly selection of the New York Times contains more information than the average human being would have encountered during a lifetime in the eighteenth century.

While we all come to grips with a world in which information sharing is just a mouse click away, we must teach our children and teenagers to be selective with the information – both in what they absorb and what they transmit.

Web 2.0 is truly one of the greatest technology bubbles to come along in recent years, but with every Gen Yer so eager to become an Internet star, it’s important to remind young people of the consequences of their actions. Here are some tips to share with the young people in your lives:

  • Your thoughts aren’t private!  It’s great to post an online blog and share your views on the world about anything and everything, but if you wouldn’t post something on you local community noticeboard, don’t post it on the Internet.  It’s not as anonymous as you may think. 
  • Think before you write!  Paper diaries are a great way to vent your intimate feelings.  Something you post on the Internet that may be personal or ‘blowing off steam’ is traceable if someone searches hard enough.  If you wouldn’t say or do it in public, don’t do it online.  In all likelihood, it won’t come back to haunt you, but it still has the potential to. 
  • Do your research.  If you feel passionate about something, make sure it’s an informed view.  Opinion carries weight when it can be backed up by fact, and not speculation. 

Knowledge is power, but it is also a Pandora’s Box.  At a time when so much information is readily available, people have the means and methods to formulate and share strong views and opinions.  While this is something that should be encouraged and nurtured, young Web 2.0 aficionados need to be reminded that Big Brother is watching!


3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Olaf said,

    Good points! Recruiters use Google and so do potential employees who google their upcoming interviewer!

  2. 2

    Alex Moon said,

    Maybe one day people will be rewarded for writing honestly about themselves in a public forum.

    In the meantime, isn’t it great to live in a society based on lies, manipulation, deceit. No wonder corporations hire psychopaths.

  3. 3

    sheryle said,

    The web will ensure full transparency overtime of employers, employees and other community members. It is up to all of us to ensure honesty online. If you think something is inaccurate say so, speak up, don’t be the silent majority.

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