What would Johannes Gutenberg have made of the internet?! He started the printing revolution by mechanising the handwritten process of book publishing that had kept the written word for Kings, the church and almost no one else. But in the 15th century, Gutenberg put an old wine press to an innovative new use and soon everyone had access to books.
But in the 1990s, the internet came along and now anyone could, for the cost of a few pence, print in full colour and instantly it could be seen around the world.
That’s generally a good thing but jobhunters are just one group of people who need to be aware of one potentially disastrous downside: your new boss can, with one hit of a return key, discover everything you’ve ever written on the net – and probably what your friends have written about you as well!
If you’ve not thought about this before, then while you’re job hunting you need to do some quick checks and possibly make some changes to the privacy settings on your favourite websites.
Most people have googled themselves but if you haven’t do it now – go to www.google.com and type in your name in inverted commas, e.g. “Alan Cleaver”. The inverted commas tell Google to search only that name rather than all the Alans in the world and all the Cleavers. You’ll be surprised at how many places you crop up! And it can be worth checking Google images as well.
It’s easy enough to remove your own material that you’ve uploaded but now think is it conveying the right image to your potential boss. Material posted by your friends may take some gentle persuasion. But once you’ve purged past material, you need to be careful what gets posted in future. There are settings on the likes of Facebook and Twitter which can help you.
Facebook is the biggest culprit for making private thoughts public. It’s just too easy and to type some ill-considered remark in the heat of the moment – and that may come back to haunt you. It’s best to assume that anything you type into a computer anywhere has the potential to go global. Take a look at the privacy settings on your social networking sites. Bear in mind you need to change settings for:
Tags: Make sure you review any pictures your friends post before they get published.
Apps and websites: It’s easy to forget you linked your Facebook account to several other websites and games.
Twitter: What does your Profile say about you? If it was something jokey meant only for your friends now may be the time to change it. And who’s following you! Make sure you approve followers before they can see your tweets.
Remember, Big Brother may be watching you – but so might your potential boss. The safest way to protect yourself is to imagine that your next boss is looking at everything you publish on the net – after all, he just might be!
Posted by LocalRecruit on March 14, 2012