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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 Ant – Get Powerful Together

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 1, 2011 in Job Search

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The ant is one of the most social creatures on the planet. As the saying goes: there is never just one. When you see an ant, you know there are at least hundreds, if not more, nearby. They are found on almost every continent. Their success in so many environments has been attributed to their social organization and their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves.

Over the past few years, I have successfully obtained both candidates and clients from Facebook, one of the leading social networking sites. My team is nearing the 100 mark for transactions closed in some way shape or form from my social media strategy.

I recently placed another hard-to-find person I located by scouring Facebook for keywords.  As I sat across the table having lunch with this person who had just started their new job, I was overwhelmed with the power of this particular social media.  He was so grateful that I had reached out to him. We chatted on and on about each other’s families, personal interests, and recent activities because we had a lot of knowledge about each other before we met.  The conversation flowed naturally like it was someone I’d known for some time when, in fact, barely two weeks had passed since my first invitation to connect on facebook and their first day on the job. This incident really drove home how powerful your personal profile is, or can be.

I met with a Pinnacle Society colleague this week as well and was recounting this accomplishment. My story was met surprisingly with some hesitation on her part to put herself out there in cyberspace.  I never really worried about the dangers of on-line interaction.  I mean, look how many people meet and marry their spouses on-line. Why not harness that power to attract candidates and clients both? 

Remember in Meet the Parents, Robert DiNiro talks about the inner circle of trust?  How can you create an on-line persona that allows people to feel like they are in the inner circle of trust without sacrificing your personal privacy? How much do you give up to cyberspace?

·         Mix personal and professional

o   Just like people who are very organized keep one calendar that includes their personal and professional appointments so nothing slips through the cracks, putting a little of both out there gives people a real sense of who you are; what types of jobs you work on and what activities you are involved in.

·         Don’t rant and rave

o   I am always amazed at the profanity and negativity people post on their pages.  Keep it light, professional and positive.  After all, this is how people will ultimately form impressions of you, so if you see things with the glass half empty, you might consider visiting the sink for a fill up before typing.

·         Post regularly

o   I know I find myself browsing postings when I’m bored, at the airport, or just to fill a few minutes.  There’s nothing more boring than to read someone’s profile that is filled with dribble. Make it interesting, but not over the top.

·         Reach out

o   Use keyword searching techniques to link with those within your niche. This will directly impact how well and how many people you reach people with your postings.  Invite them to connect with a brief note as to how you found them and why you are reaching out to them for their assistance or participation in your project.

·        Create your own social media strategy

o   Who do you want to connect with and why?  What’s in it for them? 

·         Consider your personal safety when posting your whereabouts 

o   This is one thing I am very careful about.  I promote appearances and speeches but don’t generally advertise when I’ve arrived for a spa day or gym workout somewhere.  Posting your gratitude to the establishment after your treatment is one way to handle promotions about your activities without sacrificing personal safety.

If you were an ant in a colony, you would only be as strong and successful as your peers made you. Just like the Ant, whether you are using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or other social media, the more the merrier!

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The Canopy – Protecting the Saplings

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 12, 2009 in Career Path, Job Search, Lessons Learned, Thinking Positive

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Four Gifts For Grads:

1.    Even though you are smart and have accomplished completing your degree, you’re likely going to have to start at the bottom and work your way up just like any tree in a thick forest environment. All seeds start growing from within the earth and the more experience they have, the larger they grow until they are high above the rest getting the most light!  If you set your expectations that you will learn the business from the ground up, you’ll get where you want to go eventually, right above the canopy!

2.    If you’re thinking more education is the answer, think again!  Yes, there probably will be more jobs in a couple of years when you get your additional degree, but you still need some practical work experience to combine with your education in order to get ahead.  Starting at an entry level spot somewhere that has a tuition reimbursement program is often a better bet than pursuing another degree full time.  Learn while you grow in your experience. A tree needs to grow upwards before it can really spread its branches. You will never make it through the thick rooftop of the jungle if your “branches” are too wide to penetrate the leafy ceiling. Ultimately, you don’t want to have more education combined with a lack of practical work experience, now or later! 

3.    NETWORK!  80% of all jobs are obtained through networking.  Even in my office we are looking for an entry level/intern type person and only had 2 qualified responses!  The tallest trees that form the canopy of the forest help the smaller trees and shade them from rough winds and other inhospitable elements while they are still young and new. Ask your parents, their friends, and your friends parents for help.  Be patient, and keep your Facebook page looking professional, too!

4.    Fail to plan, plan to fail!  Create a plan based on solid market research and go after jobs at the companies where you want to work. Seek to meet people who already work there by volunteering at charity events their companies sponsor.  Those people can refer you internally as jobs open up.  Create some good solid roots that will support you and hold you steady as you grow. The better your foundation, and the more you network, the higher you will be able to grow in the job search jungle!

For more information on this topic visit: http://www.carolynthompson.net/jobsearchwebinar.htm

Carolyn Thompson

Author of TEN EASY STEPS TO A PERFECT RESUME…available on Amazon.com!
and TEN STEPS TO FINDING THE PERFECT JOB…available on Amazon.com!  

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