What does your social networking profile say about you?

12 03 2009

Thinking of hiring? If you really want to see who someone is, check out their MySpace page. People can always say that they are one thing, but the wonderful world of social networking will eventually bring the truth to light.

Oh, you’re not a partier? Those 36 pictures of you during various stages of your beer pong tournament seem to suggest otherwise. Yeah… that’s what that “Tag Photo” button means.

According to a recent survey, approximately one in five employers admits to checking up on potential employees’ profiles on social networking sites. Some employers think that this practice can help them to better understand their employees and what they can contribute to the organization — beyond what is listed on their resume.

However, this can have its drawbacks. Just ask Kimberley Swann, a British teen who was fired after commenting that her job was boring on her Facebook account.

Not only can personal pages be an important factor in the firing of employees, it is also be key in their hiring. According to the CNN article, “Social networking sites dos and don’ts,” 34 percent of employers chose not to hire a candidate because of what they found on their profile. The article goes on to lay out some basic ground rules that will hopefully not only prevent you from getting fired, but will show you how social networking profiles can be used to help you in your job hunt. And right at the top of the list is a section entitled “Don’t badmouth your current or previous employer” — Apparently Ms. Swann missed the memo.

What is the lesson that we can take from all this? Remember that MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and the like, are all very public, and what you say (or show on them) can and will affect peoples’ opinion of you. So, as a general rule of thumb, don’t put anything up that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.

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