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You've Been Googled!

On-Line Antics? You Never Know Who Is Watching!

The process of communicating with each other is a constantly evolving development. Twenty years ago few of us could have imagined how the power of the internet would change our lives, or that cell phones would replace restrictive landlines. Now young people prefer to communicate via instant messaging or through social websites like MySpace (40 million users) or Facebook (30 million users).

But there is a downside to all of this free flow of information. Sometimes there is too much information available "out there" on the web. That is especially true for job seekers. In the past, employers might — emphasis on "might" — contact one or more references provided by a job applicant in order to get a better sense of the individual's work history and habits. But reference checking took time and effort, and often produced little information of value.

Today, however, it is a quick and easy process for an employer to do a background check over the internet. In a matter of seconds, an interviewer can simply "Google" a job candidate to see what information pops up. Or, with a little more effort, an employer can dig deeper to search court records or social networking sites.

So what pops up? That depends on the candidate, of course. At one end of the spectrum, if you have a criminal record and try to hide on your resume or during an interview, it won't look good if your mug shot shows up on-line.

But even relatively innocent fun can make a poor impression on an employer. Remember when you posted all of those crazy digital photos on-line following that wild keg party in the woods? Is that something you want your new boss to see? Or how about a MySpace profile that boasts that you love to "party all night"? Or that picture of you in full "Goth" mode? This might not exactly be the kind of image you want to portray when seeking a responsible position in the NDT world.

So how can you save your reputation from, well… yourself? The simple answer is to avoid any unsavory activities (or at least avoid posting evidence for the world to scrutinize). Employers, for the most part, cannot expect all job candidates to be saints, and may even look back fondly upon the recklessness that comes with youth.

However, before you are hired, they have to make absolutely sure you will be a positive asset to their company. That process will be much easier for them, and much more beneficial to you, if you present yourself—both on-line and off—as responsible individual.

Do you have a comment to make on this article? We'd like to hear from you! Please e-mail your comments or questions to newsletters@pqndt.com.

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In This Issue:
Do You Make Enough Money
Online Antics
Memo from Michael

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