Using the Web for Work: To Know Thy Self, Google Yourself, and Watch What You Say Online

Using the Web for Work
By Kristen Jacoway
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To Know Thy Self, Google Yourself, and Watch What You Say Online

In December 2009, research commissioned by Microsoft found that 79% of U.S. hiring managers and job recruiters reviewed online information about potential job candidates. If someone Googled you, are they likely to find information that supports that personal brand for which you want to be known or not? Consider this, in this same study, they found that 70% of U.S. hiring managers have rejected candidates based on what they found online about that person.

Surprisingly, as I poll audiences where I speak, people are still quite alarmed to hear this statistic and equally distressed when they admit that they have never Googled themselves. I wanted to illustrate a few famous examples of how lapses in judgment on social networks have cost people jobs and opportunities.

  • Connor Riley got a job offer from Cisco and tweeted, “Cisco just offered me a job! Now I have to weigh the utility of a fatty paycheck against the daily commute to San Jose and hating the work.” Tim Levad, a Cisco employee, tweeted back, “Who is the hiring manager? I’m sure they would love to know that you will hate the work. We here at Cisco are versed in the Web.”
  • The voice of the Aflac duck, Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, tweeted the following after the Japanese tsunami, “Japan is really advanced. They don’t go to the beach. The beach comes to them.” Aflac fired Gottfried following his tweet.
  • A student / intern in an educational setting got fired for posting a picture on her MySpace account showing her drinking and a caption saying, “Drunken Pirate.” The university where she was attending also denied her degree just days before graduation. She sued, but a federal district judge rejected the claim saying that because she was a public employee whose photo didn’t relate to matters of public concern, her post was not protected speech.

Be mindful of what you tweet or comment on Facebook: Companies have employed the utilization of social media listening tools like Radian6, TweetBeep, Google Alerts, Company Buzz, and more. The majority will “hear” if you use their name.

Set Your Privacy Settings: Most social networking sites offer privacy settings. If you are using a social network strictly for personal use, then set high privacy controls. Think about your objective for using the site—is it to establish your thought leadership and expertise? If so, you will not want high privacy settings so that you can be found.
Sign-up for Google Alerts for Your Name: Go to Google.com/alerts and sign-up to receive an email when your name appears on the Internet. Put your name in quotation marks to receive clean results.

In summary, monitor your online brand so that you can be proactive in managing your reputation.

Kristen Jacoway is the principal of Career Design Coach and authored the book, “I’m in a Job Search-Now What???

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4 Responses to “Using the Web for Work: To Know Thy Self, Google Yourself, and Watch What You Say Online”

  1. Trish says:

    Kristen,

    Excellent advice! It’s important for people to be well versed in the privacy settings for their various accounts. If it’s public everyone can see it and probably will at some point. At Radian6, we also strongly respect the Terms of Service of websites and regulated crawler access, so if there are privacy settings in place, we fully respect that privacy.

    Thanks for including us in your article!

    Trish @Dayngr
    Radian6 Community Manager

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