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The Octopus – Hiding Facebook For Future Employers

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 23, 2012 in Interviewing Skills, Lessons Learned, Self Improvement

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One of the most well-known defense abilities of Octopi, besides mimicry, is the expulsion of ink. The preferable defense, of course, is to simply not be seen. This can be achieved by squeezing into tight places and camouflaging to avoid detection. If they are spotted by a predator, the Octopus can eject ink in a large cloud to cover their escape.

For years experts have warned job seekers that their Facebook profiles and other social media accounts may very well hinder their chances of employment—anything like controversial statuses and/or unflattering drunken photos are enough to get your resume thrown in the trash can. After all, employers want someone who will be able to represent their business in a good light.

While in the past job applicants were able to safe guard and restrict their personal information from prying eyes simply by changing their privacy settings, much like the Octopus prefers to hide, some interviewees may no longer have that added sense of security. Employers are getting a lot smarter. Rather than hiring an expensive IT specialist to hack into your account or trying to “friend” candidates on the social media site, some employers are doing something rather blunt: directly asking for an applicant’s Facebook username and password during the interview.

Headlines report that this trend is slowly sweeping the nation. Employers ask job applicants for log-in information so that he or she can evaluate the applicant’s Facebook page later on; or an employer will ask the applicant to log-on Facebook in front of him or her before the interview is over. It’s a technique that can definitely be seen as a violation of privacy. But for those desperate for a job, they have no other choice but to oblige to the interviewer’s request.

Other big-name companies like Sears may not go as far as asking for log-in information directly, but they do manage to get ahold of your Facebook profile information in a more subtle way: via Facebook apps. Some companies make job applications available on Facebook. In order to access and submit the application however, users must first agree to the app’s terms and conditions which specifically say third parties can access profile information such as photos and your friends list. Hiding may no longer be enough.

So what to do and how can you prevent your Facebook from hindering your employment opportunities? For starters you can do some major spring cleaning. Obviously setting certain photos albums to private isn’t enough, so back the photos up on your hard drive and delete sketchy photo albums entirely on your profile. It’s also a good idea to change what you post and the frequency —don’t complain too much or sound whiny (no dissing your ex or post about the turmoil’s of not being employed); be informative—links to news articles are ok because it shows that you know what’s happening in the world; refrain from posting too many YouTube music videos; and most importantly keep every status update G –rated.  Go ahead and delete a few statuses that you think might make you look bad. Facebook’s new Timeline makes this process a little easier.

If you think your Facebook is just too much of a mess, remember that you could always delete it—temporarily or permanently. After all, interviewers can’t punish you for having something inappropriate on your Facebook if you don’t have one.  Deactivating it during the period of applying and a few weeks after you’re hired is a great idea. But if you want to delete your Facebook entirely, remember you must e-mail the Facebook administration so that they can take it down for you. “Inking” the elements of your online presence that are less desirable to employers so that they cannot find them may save you, just like the Octopus.

Update! Facebook speaks out against employers asking for passwords.

This guest post is contributed by Angelita Williams, who writes on the topics of online courses.  She welcomes your comments at her email Id: angelita.williams7 @gmail.com.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Map – A Guide Through The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 14, 2012 in Job Search

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Finding a job in the current climate is a full-time job in itself, but there are ways to make things easier on yourself. Use these points to draw a map to navigate through the job search jungle.

What’s your skill-set?

Firstly, be honest with yourself about the skills you have. Sit down and make a list of the jobs you’ve held in the past, the dates they covered, and the skills required. If you’re an experienced professional, limit your outlines to the most recent ten years. If you’ve been out of the workplace for a while, then list any relevant voluntary posts. If you’re new to the world of work, think about any mentoring or extra-curricular activities you’ve been involved in, including sports or drama. This information forms the basis for the professional experience section of your resume, which in effect is your calling card for jobs and can also be used to help fill in application forms. Other sections typically include some personal details, including how employers may get in touch with you, and relevant educational qualifications. Have a basic prototype curriculum vitae (CV) that you can use as the basis for different types of jobs and industries.

Where are all the jobs?

Secondly, think about the type of job you want, and where those jobs are advertised. Local newspapers and job boards are a great start, but many openings are now advertised only on the Internet. Many appear on professional job boards, but several are advertised only on the website of an organization. Many more openings are not advertised at all, and this is where you need to think laterally about your contacts. Do any of your friends or relatives work in organizations that are hiring? Which school did you attend? Are you aware of any alumni who have gone into businesses that are expanding? What agencies can you think of who deal with your industry, and have you registered with them? What technical and specialist trade magazines are there in your area? Even if they don’t carry situations vacant, the news items offer an insight into companies that are expanding. Many local libraries carry copies of trade magazines, so you can browse at your leisure.

Target your application

Thirdly, once you’ve found a vacancy that looks promising, go through the job description carefully. Make a grid of how your skills and experience are the best possible match for the vacancy, and mentally prepare for your interview by thinking of at least two, preferably three, concrete examples of how you displayed those skills in previous posts. Take your base cv and target it for the post.

Expand your skill-set

If you’re finding that many promising job advertisements you spy ask for skills outside your area, think about how you can upskill yourself. Is there a local college course in your area? Could you work on a voluntary basis for an organization to refresh your skills, and do some good at the same time?

Be realistic

You may also find, especially if changing industries or just starting out, that you need to revise your salary expectations or the type of role you’re willing to take. At the moment, it’s an employer’s market, and although history tells us that everything moves in cycles, flexibility is the key at present. You may also need to be extremely creative in the job titles and keywords you use to carry out your search. Once upon a time, a secretary was a secretary. Now, he or she may go by the title of executive assistant, virtual assistant, or clerical executive. And who’d have thought a librarian’s post would be advertised under the title of information alchemist?

Be patient

However you choose to carry out your job search, be patient. The right job is out there somewhere.

This guest post is contributed by Sally Derby. Sally is an experienced office manager with over twenty years of successful personal job-hunting experience in the administrative field. She writes for Degree Jungle on the topics of interviewing and helping candidates to sell their skills and expertise, on paper and in person.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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