Its’ all so easy and effortless, we don’t stop for one second to thing how our online behavior can affect our career. But like so many other things that can appear small and insignificant at the time, over a long timeframe our online actions accumulate and can have a profound impact on our career.
Is it possible that what we post on Facebook can affect our next job? It sure can, for 2 reasons.
The first is that in the “online” world our professional lives are inseparable from our personal lives. Everything is free for everyone to see, so there’s no point in maintaining an impeccable persona on “professional” sites (LinkedIn, Xing for example) and behave rudely on Facebook and twitter. It’s all the same to the web.
The other reason for the significance of our online behavior is that everything we do online leaves a mark somewhere on the web, and it’s now impossible to erase this “online footprint”. Every ugly selfie you’ve posted, untasteful twit and even innocuous detail you’ve mentioned somewhere online might one day come back to haunt you. It is almost futile to try to resist this (try shutting down ALL your social media accounts, email, and subscription to random websites etc.
So given that everything we do somewhere online is visible to all and will remain there forever, how should one conduct? Try these following tips:
- Be kind and ditch negativity- the web has endless memory. Everything posted lasts forever. So it is much better to spread kindness than rudeness. And don’t start battles over the web- things tend to escalate quickly online (we don’t see or fear the other person) and people have long memory, too. As a rule, if you can contribute something positive, do. If not, shut up about it.
- Be honest- no point in lying although some will try (a guy a know from my service in the navy boasts in his LinkedIn profile that he graduated first from the Naval academy, and commanded elaborate drill with US 6th All lies). Keep whatever information you want for yourself, but never lie. Remember- potential employer know how to Google and compare your’ various profiles.
- Be positively active- your online footprint today, is, in fact, your business card and portfolio tied together. If you have enough google references- it means you are important. Appear on many entrepreneurs’ website- it means you in the entrepreneurial business. So if hiding isn’t an option anymore, you might as well do the opposite and contribute as much as you can.
Remember, you online activities is like a trail of breadcrumbs you carve on the face of the internet. It might just lead something great your way- you just need to make sure you leaving the quality stuff behind, and keep all the negativity to yourself.