By now, you've likely heard all about how Representative Anthony Weiner sent some less than professional pictures of himself to women over Twitter. He resigned his job as a U.S. congressman from New York and we're betting that it's going to be pretty hard for him to find a new job.
While it seems like a no-brainer that you shouldn't post scandalous pictures of yourself on the internet, there are a bunch of people (including some very high profile ones) who have done it. And even if you're super careful with the information you put out there, you still could be putting yourself at risk with your behavior on the social media and email sites you use.
Here are three quick things you can do right now to make sure you're not accidentally pulling a Weiner and shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to your job search.
1. Check your email address
I know you think your email address is awesome. And it is, but not for job searching. You'd be amazed at the number of people who sign up for our site using email addresses with sexually explicit words, curse words and offensive terms in them. And we've said it before, but until all of you quit doing it we're going to keep telling you - you need a professional email address. First name, last name and random numbers are all you need. Assuming of course you use numbers that have no negative connotations associated with them (even our grandmothers know what 666, 69 and 420 mean). Trust us when we tell you that employers see your email address and judge you by it. And by judge you, we mean not hire you.
2. Google yourself
It's a must-do for those of us living in the digital age. Periodically search for your name and see what comes up. If a potential employer decides to search for you, are they going to find your unprotected Facebook account with all the pictures of you doing keg stands and talk of smoking up after work? Yeah. That's not going to go over well. See what's out there, fix it and make sure to set up Google alerts so you'll be alerted every time something new about you goes up on the internet.
3. Google Image search yourself
That's right - you can't just stop at the Google search, you've got to image search yourself as well. There's no telling what might turn up, or how many people who share your name might not have the same scruples as you and could be posting pictures that you'd rather not have associated with your name. You might not be able to change it, but at least knowing about it will keep you from being blindsided the next time you're in an interview and they ask you, "So why are there so many pictures of you posing on a car in a bikini on the internet?"
As more and more employers and recruiters search for you on the internet, it becomes more and more important for you to protect your online profile. And it should go without saying, but never, ever, post, send or Tweet anything on the internet that you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see on CNN.