Nothing is truly private in today's digital age. Employers use that to their advantage and will search your digital footprint to see if you are going to be an asset or liability to their organization.
The other day on Facebook a friend of mine posted the following status update, "One week into my new job and my new boss is already starting to annoy me". Another friend recently posted about being "late to work 4 days in one week", and yet another friend posted about his "liquid lunches".
What if during an interview the hiring manager asked you to pull up your Facebook or Twitter account for them to view? Would you still get the offer after they reviewed your twitter rants? Looked at your photos?
While it might seem like no big deal to rant about your annoying boss or co-workers, the impression it leaves on those in your network can wreck havoc on your career. I think my friends who posted the status updates above showed poor judgment; I am sure many others in their network agreed as well.
Pay attention to not only what you post, but also what those in your network post and tag you in. Be sure to clean up your social media act on an ongoing basis. Every person in your network can be a potential boss or co-worker, or might be able to make an introduction into a company you have been dreaming about. It's important to think before you post.
A netiquette faux pas I come across all the time has to do with email handles. I cannot tell you how many job seeker emails I get from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Those email addresses are not the most professional and don't leave a great impression. Similarly, having a résumé file with the title "resume.doc" will get you lost in the shuffle. Title your résumé something unique, for example JuliaLevy_HR.doc is an example of a properly named résumé. Your subject line should be meaningful as well. "Hello", "For your consideration", and "Following up" are not specific. Try something similar to "Following up from our February 11th meeting" or "Application for Human Resources position # 12434".
We live in a social media world; your networks are moving online more every day. While social media can make it much easer to keep up with and manage your contacts, it also makes it easy for you to forget your netiquette. Follow your common sense and don't be a social media disaster.