Be sure to check out today's Business Monday cover story (written by yours truly), "The evolution of a resume." Researching this topic really hit home for me. The story is about how recruiters are doing Google searches and using social networks to learn more about candidates. And it's also about how more people are building websites to showcase a portfolio of work, making applying for a job more than just a standard resume.
It was less than two years ago when I graduated from college. I had a few peers who built personal websites for job hunting. LinkedIn wasn't big yet, so the only major profiles we had were on Facebook and MySpace. And when graduation came near, several of my friends started taking down photos of keg stands and beer bongs from their Facebook profiles. I also set my party photos to private.
But there are still so many of my peers that don't. To this day I find my friends posting crazy party photos, and I have to un-tag myself from them. I don't want to offend my friends, but I have to explain to them that I rather have our silly photos be private to my co-workers.
I thought it was common sense to my fellow 20-somethings that we have to be careful what we put on the Internet, because there is little privacy. And things online have a way of living forever, even if you delete it. I get upset when a friend tags me with an unflattering picture on their site. Don't they know that more than just my close friends can see that?
But it's not common sense. Talking to college counselors and recruiters, everyone has told me that my generation thinks it is no big deal to have un-professional items on a social network profiles because it is just a social network profile. The idea is that recruiters and bosses should understand that it is our personal space, and that it is separate from our professional personas. But bosses are not thinking that way. They have not grown up in a world where it is normal to share every detail about ourselves to the world. So not all recruiters can relate to why we want to post that photo of winning the 2007 Beer Pong Championship.
It's a very interesting time for the professional world and social networks right now. I'm curious to see how the evolution of social networks play out within our professional lives, and how much emphasis recruiters will put on social networks when they are making hiring decisions.
What if a recruiter wanted to add you as a Facebook or MySpace friend before hiring you, just so they could learn more about you?
That's a horrible thought. In the meantime, thank Heaven for privacy settings.