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The 10 Worst Web Mistakes to Keep You from Landing a Job

With unemployment so high, the job market has reached new heights of competition. Add in that doing a background search on the name at the top of a resume takes an average of 0.15 seconds and can show a potential slew of reasons not to be hired. How hard is it for prospective employers to find information about you? With a few clicks, they can find someone’s sexual preference, religion, and even what you do on weekends. Before your resume is cold on their desk, they can know more about you than a longtime friend.

Sites, searches, pictures, and more have made the web a wonderful place to reconnect with old friends, make new ones, and bring a level of convenience that our parents and grandparents never dreamed. Good news for those hiring. Bad news for anyone who has ever made an impulsive decision. To help, we have gathered the ten worst web mistakes to keep you from landing a job. They include the most common, along with a few you never may have guessed.

  1. A Picture is Worth a Thousand Mistakes
    Everyone likes to have a good time, yet a single picture of too good a time can keep you from landing a job. Whether out for a drink with a few buddies or even sharing a kiss with your spouse, pictures only capture a fraction of a second and are left open to interpretation. In fact, a professional Olympian was forced to quit the American snowboarding team after inappropriate photos of him surfaced. If you need a little help determining what is inappropriate, and who doesn’t every now and then, click on for loads on what not to do. That Halloween photo may not be as cute as you think. Bottom line: if unsure, don’t post.
  2. To Blog or Not to Blog?
    A professional blog that showcases talent can actually help you land a job. This blogger posted gracefully on his exit from his employer and, as a result, received over 100,000 visitors. This led to speaking engagements, which led to a job. However, according to the above story from CNET, this flight attendant was blogging about the ups and downs of her job anonymously, but her identity was revealed after she posted pictures of herself and crew. The lesson to be learned: if writing a “therapeutic” blog as Ellen was, blogging about the company you work for anonymously is also helpful.
  3. Facebook = Firedbook
    A pro of Facebook is that only allowed friends can have full access to your profile. However, anyone who knows how to use Google can bring up a mini-page of your Facebook. This includes stats, groups, profile pic, and more. And with privacy constantly changing, who’s to say what a random search will reveal on you tomorrow. Facebook can also be a problem if you allow friends who can bring trouble for you. An office back stab is even easier to do when it’s over the web.
  4. Twitter is Quicker
    Keeping you from landing a job in 140 characters or less is Twitter, the micro-blogging sensation. Unlike Facebook, a Twitter account can be seen by anyone who types your name into a search engine. Because messages, or tweets, are so easy to post and so short, a prospective boss can skim through feeds in no time and find any mistakes to keep you from landing a job. This can include pictures, graphic language, messages from your friends, and more. For an extensive guide on how to make your Twitter account private, click here.
  5. But I Only Use Twitter For Good
    That’s what Virginia thought when she interviewed at her dream job at People’s Revolution, a high end public relations firm seen on MTV and Bravo. She was so excited about landing the job, she tweeted the experience to all of her friends. Shortly after her interview, an employee at the firm did a random search for People’s Revolution and found the tweets. Although noting negative was said by Virginia, the perspective employer went on to state that privacy and confidentiality was too important to them. Although Virginia seemed certain to the land the job, People’s Revolution ended up calling her shortly after to withdraw the offer.
  6. Keep Your Comments To Yourself
    You may not be internet friends with someone who can keep you from landing a job, but one of your friends may. A not-so-innocent comment can do more than you think. In this story, Nathaniel told a friend he planned to quit his job just as he was typing his two week notice. The friend then posted: “Congratulations! You’ve finally told that jerk to take this job and shove it!” It goes without saying that after the boss – who was friends with the friend – read it, the two week notice then became unnecessary.
  7. Lies Harder to Cover Up
    Have you padded your resume? Did you say you worked at a company you never truly did work for? If a prospective employer chooses to search that company, he or she could find that your name never appears and the department head you allegedly worked for can confirm it. This article from Edmonton Journal, shows how lies can lead to something far more dangerous.
  8. Pay Your Debt
    Many employers run background checks of employees to see if they are a good fit. If you have any outstanding criminal issues, such as an arrest warrant for failure to appear, pay, etc., it can definitely keep you from landing a job. If you think an arrest warrant is like a bully, ignore it and it will go away, think again. This site tells you three ways to see if you have a warrant.
  9. Check Yourself
    Before someone else wrecks you and keeps you from landing a job. An identity theft, ex-lover, or just about anyone can post anything using your name. If you find something unflattering, contact the webmaster to have it removed or at the very least censored to include only initials and one of those black squares if it is a picture. However, if your name is something like John Smith, you can face a whole new set of challenges.
  10. Beat Them to the Punch
    What to do if your name is John Smith or you are unable to remove something unwanted? Google now allows users to create their very own profile on their site. The page is actually similar to Facebook. Unlike FB, it allows you to control how you appear in Google. The page can include correct information, links, and photos. Famous users such as Felicia Day and Tim O’Reilly have already signed up.

Josh was an aspiring model from Wausau, Wisconsin. In actual event’s from MTV’s True Life, he moved to New York to pursue his dreams of modeling. However, what seemed to be a humongous opportunity was wasted when Josh was denied a passport due to an outstanding arrest warrant. He was not able to travel to Milan for his very first fashion show and was forced to return home, showing how the web can help or keep you from landing a job.

If looking to utilize the web to land a job, try a site like LinkedIn. It has over 65 million members in over 200 countries who are also looking to use the web to further their careers. It helps you make use of your strictly professional network, as well as help those you trust. If you need more help on how web mistakes can keep you from landing a job, click on Urlesque which has a column on internet horror stories.