The Internet has changed virtually everything we do—connecting people at levels unimaginable just a few years ago. It’s also put most information online, just a few clicks away from the inquisitive. That means employers and potential employers can keep a pretty close eye on you.
Below are some tips to keep your online footprint clean—whether you’re looking for a job or already working.
Expect No Privacy Online at Work
Employers have long been able to track their employees’ online habits, and if they see something suspicious or disruptive, they have the ability to investigate further. At some point during your orientation at a company, you will probably be told to consider everything you do online as viewable by management. But people still get caught in unprofessional online activities at work. A recent article in Money magazine told the story of an employee who emailed vacation photos, unwittingly compromising the company’s email platform. Be security conscious and stay on task online.
Know Your Rights in Interviewing & Screening
In all but one of the 50 states, employers are seldom, if ever, permitted access to your salary from your previous employer, unless you are notified and give them permission. You’re perfectly within your rights to refuse to answer if asked. Keep this in mind if you’re asked to sign waivers for background checks. Read each document carefully to make sure you’re not signing away your rights.
Keep Your Politics Civil and Thoughtful
There’s nothing wrong with expressing political views on social media, provided you keep things thoughtful and professional. You should avoid trolling or nasty debates. While you’re certainly within your rights to have a political take on important issues, just remember that any potential employer will see this. If they stumble across anything vulgar, obscene, or somehow over the top, they might think twice about hiring you.
Now more than ever, businesses are wary of being associated with an online matter that can reflect poorly on their company.