One significant downside to the wide use of the internet and Google for many job seekers is the ability for potential employers to find information about them online.
Particular younger job seekers who may be active on social media, it’s not uncommon to have a large number of pictures posted online over a period of a few years. College pranks, parties, and activities often provide ample opportunity to share “funny” pictures with friends.
The problem obviously is… employers may not see those pictures as so funny.
Surely they must understand that college is college… and that you’ve matured beyond that now! Well… some might, and many won’t!
What you post… or friends post of you online MAY have a very negative lasting affect on your career for years to come.
Prior to the internet, Facebook, Instagram, Blogs, and other venues online, youthful indiscretion was usually undocumented, and easily forgotten. Today, those same indiscretions are often immortalized and very difficult to erase. They can, and are searched, and seen by people you might least like to see them.
While I’ve written on aspects of this topic before, it’s worth repeating because it has such a negative impact on so many careers.
Surveys show that a majority of employers Google potential employees at some point in the hiring process. What they find certainly has an impact on their decision to hire a particular candidate, or not. The candidate will never know why they may have been rejected for a role, however, it’s not at all unusual that the decision to pass was a direct result of what was found.
The adage that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is certainly true in those circumstances. Whether the judgment made is fair or not, doesn’t really matter. The negative result of not getting the job is the consequence. Subjective decisions on a host of factors are what always determine why one candidate is selected over another.
While sharing what seem to be fun, comical, and otherwise unprofessional pictures online are your right, seemingly harmless, and a common thing to do, they can affect your career and your life in very negative ways.
Furthermore, it can be very difficult to “clean them up” or remove them later. It is often a great challenge or impossible to remove pictures from the internet once they’ve been posted. They are often copied to other sites, stored in multiple domains, or cached in search engines.
What may have been posted impulsively in a moment of ‘fun’ can become a permanent hindrance to gaining future opportunities!
Unfortunately, this isn’t just a problem for people in college, or people that can claim a moment of youthful indiscretion. People in every age range have increasingly become careless about the things they post online, and the consequences are often damaging.
If you are one who does have pictures posted online that can be interpreted in very negative ways, doing what you can to remove them can have a positive effect on your career and other areas of your life.
If you haven’t posted anything that can hurt you in your career… be very conscious of the potential consequences and post pictures with discernment.
When you are in a job hunt, pictures matter!