Me, Myself and Google
Posted by covunicareers
As you may already know by now, my name is Sean. What you probably didn’t know is that in 1995 I got my first computer from a small computer store in my local Asda (Windows 95 with a 15″ CRT monitor and dial up! #idontliketobrag). I was lucky enough to be part of the first generation to be fully exposed to the World Wide Web from childhood, and since those early days it has changed beyond recognition.
Forgetting that snail powered dial up (thankfully) is a thing of the past and has been replaced with uber quick wireless broadband, the dramatic rise of social media platforms has had a lasting effect on my life. And it probably has on yours.
It all started with MSN Messenger, then Myspace and quickly a spawn of other spin off platforms (remember Hi5 or Bebo!?). Nowadays, we are all familiar with the more established websites: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and LinkedIn.
Over the past few months there have been a number of excellent blog posts on the topic of appropriate use of Social Media by the University of Huddersfield and the University of Salford. These have focused on the how to be savvy using social media citing high profile social media ‘fails’ such as that of the now departed Youth Police and Crime Commissioner, Paris Brown. In all fairness, Paris is not the first, nor will she be the last to have a social media meltdown. It happens to thousands of people across the globe on a daily basis. You may even know somebody that has fallen foul on Twitter or Facebook?
So I am going to take a slightly different approach to this topic, and delve into the darkest depths of the interweb to see what a potential employer could find about me in just 10 minutes of searching on Google. It should be quite interesting as I have been posting things online for more than a decade now!
So my journey begins, by merely searching for my name and current location I am able to track down my first deposit of internet musings. The first 5 pages of results return a combination of my current Social Media accounts and archived news articles (most of which are entirely irrelevant to me).
After digging a bit further into the results I stumbled across a Telegraph article from 2008 that I am mentioned in (I promise the title makes it sound worse than it actually was!). Although this experience is from just under 5 years ago, I still list this volunteering experience on my CV as there are useful skills to be gained from it, so I personally view this as a beneficial search result.
Another beneficial search result is a CV workshop that I have produced on Prezi. Again, I am happy that a prospective employer is able to find this if they search for me, particularly if they were looking for someone with a current knowledge on how to construct a CV or having used Prezi.
Now, here is where I admit that I have made a rookie mistake. Ever since my first computer and the subsequent usage of the internet I have mainly used the one, random and now probably juvenile username. What would be going through a prospective employers mind as they view ‘monkey2939’, I have no idea now how I ended up initially selecting and sticking with this handle, it was probably a random automated suggestion from a website that I have carried through the rest of my internet life for ease.
If an employer was to preform another search using this username they would stumble upon possibly as much as 75% of my entire internet history. Some being relevant, but the majority are completely irrelevant ramblings from a much younger me.
What is really interesting is that while there are no search results that could possibly put my future career under threat or leave me being named and shamed on the front pages of a national newspaper; there are a number of twitter related posts that could only be described as unnecessary internet clutter. These results come above more potentially interesting content, such as a travel blog that I have recently created.
The future of social media and what i would do differently
Much like you, I have very little idea as to the direction and changes that will impact the internet. Will there even be the internet as we know it in another 50 years?! We can only base our current decisions on what we currently see and have experienced in the past. Looking back to my internet life to date, I would probably make the following five changes:
• First of all, I would choose a more professional username! Based on the fact that I am no longer 8 years old. I am a 24 year old graduate hoping to have a successful career; ‘monkey2939’ does not best represent the current me.
• Change my username depending on its usage. After thinking long and hard I believe it would be better for me (and maybe you as well if you are not already doing this) to use a username for my personal internet usage, and one username for content that could potentially be viewed by employers. This will ensure that my search results are not cluttered with irrelevant content.
• I need to become more aware of the longevity of content. The Telegraph article is a good example of something that I have long forgotten about, however it is still available to be viewed by prospective employers.
• By writing blog articles, joining professional websites (such as LinkedIn) and featuring in articles or other such press articles it is helping to create useful online content that an employer may be more interested in, than the usual twitter ramblings anyway!
• Remove old accounts and content when outdated or are no longer appropriate. I have recently installed an app called ‘Tweet delete’ that I can set to remove past tweets on a regular basis. I’m hoping that by doing this and changing my account settings to private I will hopefully avoid another build-up of past tweets and posts. Ensuring potential employers will not have to wade through this to find the content that may be of interest to them.
Posted on May 14, 2013, in Job hunting, Social Media and tagged advice, Careers, careers guidance, Careers Service, Coventry University, employability, google, graduate, online image, social media. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.