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Be careful what you tweet!

We’ve been advertising for an online journalism intern for the website. On Friday, I was emailed what sounded like a very promising application from a second year uni student. I was about to get her in for an interview when I forwarded it to my colleague Dave, the web editor.

Social media-minded as ever, he checked out her Twitter profile. You would not believe her most recent tweet to a friend: “Did I tell you I can’t bludge anymore at work? My boss sits RIGHT next to me… I think he knows I do jack all!”

Two words: oh dear!

These days it’s pretty standard to Google people who apply for a job you’re advertising. It’s now the norm to check people’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles, especially when you’re employing Gen Y people and when you’re a Gen Y employer, which I am. We were of course hoping to find out that someone applying for an online journalism internship was social media savvy. We weren’t trying to catch anyone out. But suffice to say she won’t be getting an interview.

My advice to anyone in the job market (no, make that anyone at all) is to be smart about what information about yourself is publicly available. As a rule of thumb, would you be happy for your mum to read it? Showing personality on Twitter is absolutely fine. In fact I, and many experts who know way more than me, suggest that having real personality behind a Twitter profile is a very good thing.

My own Twitter profile (@jenbishopsydney) is full of all kinds of details about my personal life, from what I had for breakfast to which handbag I’m lusting after, as well as links to stories on this website and commentary on small business issues. My followers though, know that I edit Dynamic Business magazine, so I don’t swear (I don’t like swearing on Twitter anyway) and I always bear in mind that anyone we do business with could access my open profile. If someone was headhunting me for my dream job (if I didn’t already have it, right?!) I’d be happy for them to read everything I tweet, even though some of it’s just silly.

The girl I mention is a student so some would say let her write what she likes in her personal Twitter profile, right? Maybe. But would you want her in your office after reading that?

Did I mention her Twitter bio simply says ‘potty mouth’?

I rest my case.

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Jen Bishop

Jen Bishop

Jen was the publisher at Loyalty Media and editor of Dynamic Business, Australia's largest circulating small business magazine, from 2008 until 2012. She is now a full-time blogger at The Interiors Addict.

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