When Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned last week in the wake of a “Sexting” scandal; there was much speculation in the media about how he was ever going to find another job.
A hot topic on shows such as “The View“; it also became an ongoing punch line for off-color jokes when Porn Publisher Larry Flynt reportedly offered him a job, and the makers of the popular TV show “Entourage” offered him a guest role playing himself.
While Weiner’s spectacular crash and burn is a very public lesson in how social media can cost you your job; what’s less obvious is how it can keep you from getting a job in the first place.
In a thought provoking and extremely eye-opening PCWorld.com article; employers were advised on how to use Facebook to legally conduct background checks.
While there is a lot of benign information on Facebook that could give future employers insight into your personality and how you might fit into their company culture; there is also information that is illegal for them to see and consider while they’re making a hiring decision.
One example from the PCWorld.com article that really gave me pause was that of a job seeker who “likes” the Susan G. Komen Foundation on Facebook, because she is a cancer survivor.
While that information seems positive, or at the very least harmless, on the surface; it could also be used to deny the job seeker a position on the basis of their health.
While an employer taking such action risks getting sued for illegally discriminating on the basis of disability; such lawsuits are costly and hard to win.
So your best bet is to safeguard your online reputation. Be as discreet as possible, and assume that anything you do online could one day be made public.
While there are plenty of examples of what you can do to lose a job by using social media, there are also lots of ways it can be used to help you find a job.
Here are some links you may find helpful: