As a young-ish professional with more than a few years in the workforce, I’d like to offer a warning to the younger generation. Please watch what you put on the internet kids, because it may come back to haunt you if you don’t.
Not to sound like a complete fuddy duddy, but all those articles warning people about how things we post on the internet never really go away are true. And those stories we hear about potential employers looking up would-be employees Facebook pages? Yep. That’s true too.
When I set out to get my first job, I had to mail my demo tape (yes, an actual tape) to TV stations all over the country. Potential employers couldn’t look me up on Facebook to see what kind of person I was because there was no Facebook. That’s just not how we did things back then.
Today, it’s much different. College graduates and soon-to-be professionals seem completely fine with putting themselves out there for everyone to see. Pictures, videos, blogs – all of it. While I commend their bravery (sometimes), it makes me very nervous for them. Pictures of wild parties or videos showing them getting wasted can make a massive impact their entire future, but I’m not sure how many of them are aware of it. Sure, that tagged photo of you downing shots with friends may be funny to you now, dear younger person, but what about later? It might not be so funny three or four years down the road, when you’re trying to get a job in finance and a would-be boss does a Google search on you, only to find those photos.
Don’t get me wrong – I understand the importance of Twitter and Facebook and many other platforms. It’s part of my job. But I also know what kind of trouble it can lead to. The top trait that employers look for in a candidate during an interview is professionalism. And many of the pictures out there these days don’t necessarily convey that. My suggestion? It might be wise to think twice before hitting the “Post” button next time because what’s funny now, while you’re still young, may not be that funny a few years from now, when you want a job.