Feature: Public Information, Public Examination
It was hard to miss Lindsay Lohan’s very public and sad self-destruction last week. More excessive drinking and bizarre behavior, all captured on the evening news for any and everyone to see. What does that have to do with looking for a job? Early reports are that Lindsay’s actions are likely to put a crimp in her film career and may even end it forever. It costs tens of millions of dollars to make a commercial film, and there’s not a producer on earth who would risk such an investment on an out-of-control employee.
And sadly, that reality holds an important lesson for many of us, but especially for those who are just starting out on their careers. The pictures and commentary posted on such social networking sites as MySpace and Facebook are just as visible and just as open to the public as Lindsay’s wild SUV ride last week. Those who have portrayed themselves as prone to excessive and/or bizarre behavior, complete with graphic photos and obscene commentary, are offering the same kind of evidence that they too may be out-of-control, even dangerous employees. And, they should expect the same reaction from employers. They are likely to see their careers evaporate as employers see them as too risky to hire.
But wait a minute, those descriptions of your “wild thing” persona are posted on your own, private page online, so how can employers use that information against you? There are several appropriate answers to that question:
So, how do you evaluate the pictures and information you’ve posted about yourself online? Simple. Put yourself in the shoes of an employer. That organization must have a license to operate in the city or state where it’s located, and it must conduct its business according to established laws, regulations and social norms. Given those responsibilities, ask yourself if it’s likely the organization would see you as a valuable prospective employee or a potential risk, based on what they can see on your MySpace or Facebook profile. If it’s the former, leave what you have up as it is likely to help round out the employer’s assessment of you as an employment candidate. If, on the other hand, it’s the latter-if your public, online profile paints you as a Lindsay Lohan without the paparazzi-change your profile immediately. (You might also want to evaluate the costs and benefits of the behavior, itself.)
Adjusting your online profile isn’t enough, however. Whether it’s fair or not, there are lingering consequences to what you post online. Much of the information that appears in public sites is copied by one or more other sites using software agents over which you have no control and, often, about which you have no knowledge. For example, the Wayback Machine at Archive.org has copies of Web pages as far back as 1996. So, the embarrassing pictures or unfortunate remarks you posted on a social networking site two years ago may still be out there on the Web a decade from now, even if you removed them from the site where you originally posted them.
What should you do? Here are my suggestions:
Thanks for reading,
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Section Two: Site News You Can Use
TheLadders.com published the results of a survey exploring the vacation plans of senior level workers. Contrary to a number of previous polls, it found that almost eight-in-ten (78.9%) of the respondents intend to take a vacation this year. Assuming those plans actually turn into reality, these results could mark a turning point in worker-employer relations. Employers, today, are facing a War for the Best Talent, a situation that shifts the center of power toward those workers who possess rare skills and are exceptional performers. Indeed, in TheLadders survey, an astonishing 75.4% of the respondents said they did not fear their vacations would put them in jeopardy on-the-job-a far cry from the prevailing view just a year ago-and over half (58.6%) said their employers were supportive of their taking time off. Whether your employer recognizes it or not, you do your best work when you have sufficient rest and recuperation. It’s your responsibility, however, to ensure you get it. Preserve and protect the health of your career by performing at your peak on-the-job and by taking a break periodically to recharge your energy and enthusiasm. If your current employer demands the performance but rejects the recuperative rest, find another employer; there are plenty out there looking for good talent.
LRN, a consulting firm that specializes in corporate ethics and compliance issues, released the results of its recent analysis of the ethical climate in corporate America. It found that almost three-out-of-four (73%) U.S. workers had observed ethical misconduct at work. The good news is that an overwhelming majority did something about it. Better than nine-out-of-ten (91%) of the respondents either talked to the person(s) involved or reported the situation to management. While we aren’t the ethics police for our employers, it is important that we not simply stand on the sidelines and let such behavior go unchecked. Why? Because it undermines the esprit and performance of the organizations for which we work and, as a result, it threatens our careers, as well.
MepatWork.com has renamed itself MEP Jobs. The site offers a job board and resume database for professionals in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing industries. It is a Member of the International Association of Employment Web Sites, the trade organization for job boards, and thus adheres to the Association’s Code of Ethics which provides for the protection of any information you provide to the site.
Yahoo! Answers offers tips on the best time to buy something or take a specific action. Need a plane ticket cheap? Shop on Wednesday mornings as that’s when the price competition among airlines tends to reach its peak. Want to drive a new car? Shop on Monday as that’s when foot traffic is so low you’ll be in the driver’s seat. Want to work at a part time restaurant job? April and May are the best times to look as that’s when restaurants gear up for summer traffic. Want to start a full time job after a baby is born? Start looking for an opportunity before the little bundle of joy arrives. Answers are provided by other site visitors, so you’ll have to assess their validity carefully, but aside from the occasional unpleasant response, the feature is an effective way to learn what others have learned … without their scrapped knees and bruised elbows.
WEDDLE’s announced the availability of its special primer on the secrets of conducting a successful job search using the Internet. There are literally hundreds of techniques for finding a new or better job online, but many are inefficient and ineffective. How can you make sure you use the best of the Web?
WEDDLE’s WIZNotes: Finding a Job on the Web provides exactly that information and helps you chart a course to success on the Internet! It’s a complete online job search campaign in a book. It covers everything you need-from using job agents and uncovering interview questions in advance to finding new and former contacts through online networking-to put the Internet to work for you. The book is short and to the point. It’s written for busy people who don’t have time to waste, but want to know-and use-the secrets to success in an online job search. To learn more and order WIZNotes: Finding a Job on the Web, please click on the appropriate link to your left or call 317.916.9424. Order today!
Section Three: Site Profiles
Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories
There are 40,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful job search online, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the sites that will work best for you. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will connect you with the openings that might just be your dream job. For example:
The Write Jobs
Post full time jobs: Yes
Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All
Distribution of jobs: National-USA
Number of jobs: 50
Salary levels of jobs: $31-50K/year, $51-75K/year
Offer a job agent: No
Resume database: No
How long are resumes stored: N/A
Restrictions on who can post: N/A
Other services for job seekers: Career information, Links to other sites with job search/career resources
Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: No