The online world has integrated itself into our lives, with email, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs where we share with our friends. We have grown accustomed to using the Internet to share updates of our activities, talk about news, and catch up with those we haven’t seen in a while. It’s a wonderful tool to update, inform, and record all the things we are involved in, doing or going through.
But it also does something else, something we may not have intended to happen—universities, potential employers, and law enforcement can use those very tools as windows into your world, and get a sense of your true character.
According to a Careerbuilder survey conducted in 2009, 45 percent of employers use social media sites to research job candidates. This is up from just twenty-two percent the year before.
Your conduct at an interview and the information you presented in your application are not the only things being used to screen you. Now, all the information you posted, liked, and shared with others—including pictures, videos, and web pages—are also part of that screening.
Your digital life has crossed over and is very tangibly interconnected to your real life.
One element that’s looked at is your list of connections. You are not just an individual anymore. You are a walking, talking, breathing brand, and what you do reflects on the schools you attended, the places you work, and the organizations you belong to. It is important to them that you represent them well in any and every setting—including the digital setting.
According to the latest Jobvite survey, 89 percent of U.S. companies will use social networks for recruiting. This number is up from the previous survey. Other parts measure the quality of candidates—and social networking determined seven out of the ten possible points measuring the quality of the candidate.
It is easier to see how your online social presence is now becoming your personal branding platform. It is no longer about updates to what you did last night, or last week, and it is becoming more a place where you can market yourself to potential schools, employers, and volunteer groups. And the way things are going, there may be many more people in the future checking your Facebook status to see what you are up to.