A couple years ago, a girl I worked with lost her job because of something that her husband said about our boss on Facebook. In a moment of frustration, he forgot that he was friends with this decision maker on Facebook and cost his wife her job. We all know that the things we do on social media can have consequences in our professional lives and as of late, this was driven home even further.
It was announced recently that an organization called Social Intelligence, which archives Facebook posts and content, can now delve into your personal thumbprint on Facebook for job background checks. Social Intelligence would be on the lookout for your involvement with illegal activity (such as drug usage), racist comments, or sexually explicit content. This information can stay on file for seven years and potentially harm your job search.
As a college student working hard to earn their degree and start the career of their dreams, this is an excellent reminder that we should all start thinking twice about what we share online. (For more on that, read What Not to Do Online Part III)
Here’s what you can do to control the controllables so your activity on Facebook won’t harm your job search.
- Enable your privacy settings on Facebook. Social Intelligence uses publicly available data, so if you haven’t already updated your privacy settings on Facebook, now is the time.
- Post with the attitude that everyone can see it. Many social media sites give us the comfort of privacy, but as we saw from the Weinergate Scandal, social media is far more transparent than we may think. To be on the safe side, if you post as though everyone can see it, you’ll be less likely to lose out on an opportunity because of something stupid.
- Clean house. Take some time to go through your Facebook photos and delete anything that could harm your career if a your future boss saw it.
To learn more about Social Intelligence and how it affects you, check out this blog on Forbes.