Think before you post

[Republished blog assignment for my CMNS 380 class from Winter, 2012]

Think Before You Post

By: Daphne Cockerill

It’s time to spiff up my Facebook page if I want to land a great job. Fifty-two percent of Canadian employers do background checks using Facebook to confirm a job candidate’s qualifications. A percentage of employers also are checking social media sites such as “…LinkedIn (39%), followed by personal blogs (25%), MySpace (23%) and Twitter (11%)”.

i see youI began to think about my own information on the internet. Are there drawbacks to having my personal information available online? How do I feel about posting my personal information on the internet? Have I ever posted and wished I could immediately reclaim the words? Do I believe everything I read on the internet?

Emailing your resume to a potential employer may not be enough to defeat your job competition. Job seekers now post their credentials directly online. Employers request pre-taped or live web-based videos as a replacement for traditional face-to-face interviews. Using Skype and a web camera people can video call over the internet for free. Recruitment agencies like Meet the Real Me focus on providing online interview services for companies.

Employers and candidates are happy using digital interviews as it saves both time and money. Job seekers can rerecord videos until they perfect their skills. Employers can replay videos instead of relying on hand notes. One human resources director says video interviews allow, “…people to stand out from paper and you can assess cultural fit and the way that somebody actually comes across on screen in terms of your values.”

Connecting to people in your career field? LinkedIn is used by almost two million Canadians to help them advance in their careers. Generation X professionals go to LinkedIn to connect, exchange, and post job information with past and present coworkers. Recruitment agencies then go to LinkedIn and search for job candidates. “Just remember, if you decide to create a LinkedIn profile, keep your information professional. It’s best to save your personal information for the other social networking websites.”

Young and older generations are also actively engaging in social networking. Recent Generation Y graduates use MySpace to post personal information about themselves in the hopes of being hired. Controversy surrounds MySpace as some believe it exposes young people’s information to criminals. Baby boomers working past retirement telecommute with work using social networking sites. “Thirty-seven percent of Canadians 65 and over have visited Facebook in the past month.

Gaining immense popularity is Twitter, an information network where people can share real-time messages (called Tweets). In 2011, Twitter announced, “…it now boasts 100 million active users, half of which tweet to the site on a daily basis.” Twitter helps companies and professionals to create immediate interest and to quickly connect. Twitter demands attention so tweet regularly and be honest about yourself. With no Twitter privacy settings, everyone will have real time access to your information.

Some social media posting tips include:

  • Setting your software’s privacy settings to control who shares in your information.
  • Being wise in what you choose to post.
  • Posting when you are in a positive mood.
  • Using proper grammar and spelling if posting to a business website.
  • Posting information relevant to the job you are applying and not your entire life story.

Remember – think before you post as your potential future employer might be looking.