Job Search: Your Online Identity Plays a Role

    April 3, 2007

Traditionally, a well-polished resume and rock solid interview technique were the standards that job seekers aspired to when venturing out to find new employment. As the Internet has become more of a user-generated medium, however, blog posts and online photo albums send just as important a message to potential employers about your character.

Do you remember that drunken blog post you made your senior year in college after the frat party to end all frat parties? Of course you don’t. Just a few short days of blogging later, the entry in question was neatly tucked away into the archives – out of sight and out of mind. Besides, only your closest friends read your blog, right?

That’s what you thought anyway, until your second interview for that engineering job at Lexmark, when your recruiter plops down a piece of paper in front of you that documents, with horrible bouts of misspelling, the exploits of said frat party that involved filling a swimming pool with beer and included vague references to a ritual animal sacrifice that may or may not have actually taken place.

At which point you begin to realize that you aren’t going to get the job.

Elizabeth Millard writes on how companies are looking to the web to get the real dirt on potential job candidates:

Plenty of potential employers are technologically savvy enough to realize that if they put a candidate’s e-mail address into Google, or into a blog search engine, they can find out more about their interviewee than anything that would appear on a resume.

But is blogging something to be totally avoided? Mary Brandel at Computer World believes that starting a blog can work in your favor “to further the impression that you’re part of a wider industry conversation.”

To blog or not to blog? That’s a question you’ll have to answer for yourself. Just remember that once you put something on the Internet, it’s nigh impossible to eradicate it completely.

So tread lightly.