The June edition of Money Magazine features a small clip of excellent advice for college grads by career counselor and author Alexandra Levit.
"Clean up MySpace and Facebook pages because potential employers will check them. One test: Make sure there is nothing up there you wouldn't want your grandmother to see"
Her two sentence observation should be expanded into an entire article for Millennials (and others), as it is often shocking to see what these aspiring young professionals have posted on the internet. I wrote about this a few months ago, when one young buck whose "Chick Magnet" persona made him look less than professional. Since then I have been made aware of dozens of other similar incidents that have kept people from getting jobs, clients and other opportunities.
When I talk to Millennials about social networking profiles that include wild party pics, booze, innuendos of drugs, sexy pics of themselves or friends, etc.... most defend the phenomenon and opine that the world is just different now and those things on MySpace pages are just "normal" and that it wont effect them negatively later because their generation expects these things.
Their statements of how different things are remind me of those who thought the stock market was operating under different rules in 1999 and that the dot-com companies had created a new economic reality. Certain things do not change as much as one thinks they might.
The reality is that job seekers and those concerned with building their future career should make conscious decisions about the image they portray on the internet. Regardless of if you like it or not, people will search for all your online information when making hiring and purchasing decisions. The information they find will influence their decision on if you get the job or if you win their business.
I am sure that the guy in this video would be the prize hire for any company:
Underwater beer bong
Think about this for a minute... you are 23 years old have this clip on your MySpace page and the hiring partner at a Fortune 500 company has to choose between two highly qualified candidates for one great job. She is fifty years old and the mother of three teenagers. What effect will watching this clip have on her choice?
Even those who already have jobs need to think about this, as employers are regularly searching to see how their employees are representing their brand. Very often these social networking profiles will include professional information, and you boss may not be happy about you listing your company name or logo next to the underwater beer bong or the nearly naked Playboy centerfold. Employees are an extension of the company's brand and any time you list your employer publicly they will find your profile (*a good marketing department is always searching for the brand on line!).
Take Alexandra Levit's advice and think about what grandma would say if she found your profile. It is not bad advice, because most grandparents are becoming web savvy and she probably will Google her grandchildren just to check up on you. Unless granny is a beer-bonger, you might want to rethink your profile!
Have A Great Day.