April 4, 2013

5 Ways to Kill Your Career on the Internet

published this at 2:07 am

When you turned the calendar into 2013, did finding a new job rank among your top New Year’s resolutions?

As many individuals have discovered over the last few years, jobs are precious and few in this day and age. And in many cases, all it took was sending the wrong message out on the Internet to turn their life upside down.

Given that factor, here are five things you ultimately want to avoid doing while online at your present job:

1. The dreaded comment – It just takes one tweet or share to essentially put you on the Titanic, that is when it comes to staying afloat in your current job or one you are applying for. While a comment about your current boss or an ex coworker may seem innocent enough to you, it can spell doom for your career. Many companies in this day and age preach office culture, that is a culture where everyone pulls together, works as a team, and has each other’s backs. If you are seen as possibly being a loose cannon, someone who talks behind the backs of your boss or those you work with (especially via social media), the company may think otherwise about keeping or hiring you;

2. The ill-advised photo – Just about everyone likes to have fun, but that photo of you more than a little inebriated at the last office Christmas party, well it is not going to win you many points, especially once your boss or potential employer sees it all over Facebook. While your employer wants you to have fun outside the office (including office functions), they also expect you to keep some level of decorum. By splashing the photo on social media, you could lead some clients who know you to perhaps reconsider doing business with you moving forward;

3. The moment you forgot to turn off your office computer – Many employees find themselves busy at work, but sometimes they sneak in a little job hunting here and there. According to a 2012 CareerBuilder study of more than 1,000 Americans, nearly 75 percent of individuals define themselves as actively looking for a new gig or would be open to new possibilities. Meantime, close to 70 percent of employees claim searching for new jobs is part and parcel of their normal routine, with nearly one-fourth of them doing it at least once a week. In the event you are one of those types of individuals, do you ever leave an online job application and/or your online resume on your computer, go on a break or forget to turn your computer off at the end of the day, then realize such information was sitting there for anyone and everyone to see? You would be surprised how often it actually happens, so never leave yourself vulnerable to such an embarrassing and potentially job-killing moment;

4. Those you keep company with – Even though an employer can’t order you who to follow or befriend on social networking sites, it is not advised to be “hanging” with the wrong crowd. If you are following or befriending a number of questionable sites (i.e. gambling, porn, racist commentary or images), it certainly does not paint you in the best light as to rising up the career ladder at work. Yes, you are free to pick and choose who you want to chat with on social media sites, in online forums etc., but unless you lock your specific pages, they are there for all the world to see;

5. Those sites you should never visit – Finally, whether viewing it on your office computer or your mobile device, looking at certain non G-rated sites (pornographic to be exact) while on the job can be the kiss of death. Not only is such a move potentially going to land you in hot water with the boss, but it could even land you in a precarious legal position. In a day and age when political correctness has taken center stage, another employee could file a harassment suit against you and the employer, saying they were offended by what they saw you viewing online. If that happens, you give your boss a good reason to discipline or even terminate you, so avoid the risk altogether.

With all that you have riding on your career, avoid making a silly mistake that could leave more than just your computer crashing.

Photo credit: atlanticwire.com

About the Author: With 23 years’ writing experience, Dave Thomas covers a variety of career and small business topics, including how to remove personal information .

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