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How to mess up your job prospects

U.S. News & World Report published a handy list last week: “5 Do’s and Don’ts for College Students Using Social Media.”

While aimed at college kids, this quick and basic primer on tools such as Facebook and Twitter is useful to (A) parents with a kid in college who may not get it yet, (B) law students or new graduates who may not get it yet or (C) younger associates at law firms who somehow got that far without getting it yet.

If you fall into category (A), feel free to send the link to this post to your kid. If you fall into category (B) or (C), you better keep reading.

The U.S. News piece said as many as 79 percent of recruiters look to the Internet for info on applicants. They want a sense of who a job applicant is…what’s she like beyond the strong resume she filed. Job applicants all too often are unaware that they’re being watched by potential employers. That young woman with the stellar resume may have posted Facebook pictures of herself chugging beer at a frat house. Given the generally crummy hiring scene (for new law graduates, it’s as bad as it’s been in a generation), it’s a buyer’s market.

You can look at the full U.S. News article here. But this is the quick version of their list:
1. Do create positive content
2. Don’t post questionable photos of yourself anywhere on the Internet
3. Do Google yourself
4. Don’t post negative status updates or tweets
5. Don’t make your online presence all about you

Most of all, be careful how you present yourself. A tip of the cap to our colleague Dave Rhea, the multimedia editor at Oklahoma City’s Journal Record, for first flagging and blogging about the U.S. News item. Rhea notes in his post that employers are all over the Internet, looking for scoop on prospects.

Drunken snaps from that debauched Spring Break trip to Florida may become, sadly, what he calls an FIL (a Future Income Limiter). So are neck and hand tattoos, Rhea says, but those are topics for another day.

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