A week ago I talked about using the web in your favor by finding target-company leads by putting yourself on Linked in, or meeting new people through Meetup. com. But this week’s discussion is about when the web can be used against you in a job search.
Here’s an example: When a friend of my own was in college, he pulled a pretty good (at the time) bogus. He made it happen once, didn’t get caught-then made it happen again, and got caught. I have to admit anytime I heard about what he’d done, I chuckled. It was creative. I can’t tell you what it was for fear that a person too temped to do a repeat of computer on your campus, you’d get caught, then come sobbing to me to get ya a job. I don’t work a course in miracles miracles!
So not only did this person get caught in the bogus, but several years later he was interviewed for a prominent journal (that now appears online) where he alluded to the bogus. The problem was that the bogus is directly-100% related-to his current industry. If his current employer knew that she was capable of such maliciousness-despite his good track record with the company-it would STILL cast a dark fog up over his career.
This article can readily be found by Googling my pal’s name in quotes. So that they can ensure that his tracks are covered, once every so often he creates more recent entries under his name-by either commenting on a book on Amazon, reviewing a movie, or taking a survey where the winners will be posted online-whatever it takes to make that article appear lower in the search rankings. I’m uncertain how much time he uses doing this every so often or so, but I believe that over the years, it’s not simple.
Articles that appear online never go away. There’s actually a website just for old articles that you can search the Wayback Machine. Web pages are always being updated and stored on the gazillions of servers around the world that produce the web-go-round. It would be impossible with the way that the web is structured to totally remove all records of a website from the planet. So although my pal’s article was many years ago, the publication gets a lot of hits, and that improves the hit-frequency of his article. He will be maintaining his little vigil until he retires.
I believe everyone’s heard this 12 times by now, but clean up those Myspace and Facebook pages if they’re available to be searched. Yes, it’s your free expression of speech to post whatever you decide and want on there, and yes, employers know that you are not living the life span of a cloistered nun or priest when you’re not at work, but they don’t want to know the details of your crazy lifestyle beyond the office. It’s Too much Information (or TMI for those up on the lingo). Having visual confirmation of you doing crazy, irresponsible things in your off-time, leads an employer to wonder how it’s possible for you to completely let down that irresponsible side during the week. “Hmmm” they’ll think, “I wonder if she’s saying some inappropriate things to our clients that she thinks are jokes. inch Employers unfortunately, draw invalid a conclusion based on their limited knowledge. It’s based on the Better Safe Than Sorry rule.
So what can you do? Begin by Googling yourself to see what appears. Whether it’s all good stuff, then you’re in the clear. For some of you, you may find a long-lost twin with your name. If see your face is clearly located somewhere you’ve never lived, try searching again on your name and state. The purpose of this exercise is to dig as deep as you can-as deep as you would if you were a hiring manager paying anyone to work for you. If you see a problem, do all you could can to get the offensive material flourished. Yes, the page will survive somewhere, but will quickly fall in the rankings when it’s not readily searched. You can take my pal’s approach and put on more web entries showing your intelligent, better-judgment self. But the first step is to take the time to search to see exactly what’s out there, and deal with it. Many of you will be pleased, the rest of you will be glad you found the material before an employer.