The Internet is pretty awesome. Between watching the latest Gaga video, broadcasting your opinion 140 characters at a time, and Googling how tall Napoleon actually was, the World Wide Web truly is an amazing tool.
The Internet is just as helpful in your job search. Gone are the days of pounding the pavement and mailing off unsolicited resume packets. Job seekers in the know use social networking, personal websites, and blogs to connect with influential people and communicate their way into a job.
While it might seem like a blank canvas ready for anything, your blog and online presence can actually do a lot of harm to your job search if you don’t watch what you say. Share something inappropriate or say the wrong thing and you could burn bridges permanently.
While it might seem like a great idea to jet out a NSFW joke or rant about someone in particular online, consider who is reading what you have to say:
Your next boss
When you want to learn about something new, what do you do? Google it, of course. Well, potential employers are doing the exact same thing. With HR budgets shrinking and the importance of a professional online presence growing, more and more employers are turning to search engines to get a good idea of who you are.
Current and future networking contacts
Today, over 75 percent of new hires come from a referral, not a job board posting. That said, your networking contacts are more important than ever. Thanks to social networking, many of your networking contacts know more about your online self than who you are in person.
Today’s job market is competitive. While there may be a couple of candidates for a position a few years ago, nowadays, there are dozens. Your competitors are going to absorb the good content you put online and use bad content against you.
Your personal contacts
Last, but not least, your personal circle of contacts is reading what you have to say online. It might be a great release to rant about someone in your life, but you never know if that individual might end up reading your content.
Why should you care?
Everyday, all kinds of people view and read your blog, profiles, and website. The Internet might seem like a vast space, but when you burn a bridge, it can get pretty tiny. When in doubt, save it for later review -- you never know when it could cost you an awesome job.
What do you think? How important do you consider the content you put online? Have you ever made a mistake that came back to haunt you?
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Sean has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write the best possible resumes. You can connect with Sean and the RezScore team on Facebook and Twitter.