When a small consulting company in Chicago was looking to hire a summer intern this month, the company's president went online to check on a promising candidate who had just graduated from the University of Illinois.For Some, Online Persona Undermines a Résumé - New York Times
At Facebook, a popular social networking site, the executive found the candidate's Web page with this description of his interests: "smokin' blunts" (cigars hollowed out and stuffed with marijuana), shooting people and obsessive sex, all described in vivid slang.
It did not matter that the student was clearly posturing. He was done.
"A lot of it makes me think, what kind of judgment does this person have?" said the company's president, Brad Karsh. "Why are you allowing this to be viewed publicly, effectively, or semipublicly?"
I recently interviewed a fresh-out-of-college candidate who was mildly surprised that I had Googled him prior to our talk and knew a few things that weren't on his résumé. But he was absolutely floored when he found out that I had also found his MySpace page (yeah, even us old farts have them.)
Unlike the NY Times story, this one has a happy ending: the kid's online presence had no damning information in it, but much that was of interest; it provided some great conversational pegs for the interview.
Blogs and other online personas can work for you or against you in the world of work. Be careful about what you're putting out there.