Social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and others can be a double-edged sword when it comes to snaring an investment banking job. Yes, they may help you expand your network dramatically, enabling you to contact someone inside your target investment bank that you might not otherwise have reached.
But as Joy Chen, a former L.A. Deputy Mayor who’s now turned into a global recruiter points out, your online presence can quickly sink your chances of landing an investment banking job as well.
She cites a couple of extreme examples in an article for Huffington Post. In the first, UCLA student Alexandra Wallace apparently posted a video on YouTube ranting about the “hordes of Asian people” in the UCLA library who annoy her by using their cell phones to check on family members impacted by the recent tsunami in Japan. She quickly took down the video, but it had already gone viral, and has now been viewed by millions. Good luck to her when any prospective employer Googles her name for a background check.
A second example was a student who was hoping to be an investment banker. In a careless, emotional moment on Facebook, he posted a status update that said: “Shit, I just FLUNKED by finance exam!”
Now you are undoubtedly too smart to ever commit such boneheaded moves as these two individuals. But Chen’s point is simply this: nothing, nothing you ever do online should ever be considered “private.”
Even if you’ve dialed down your privacy settings on Facebook, who knows when their policies might change. And everything you post in your online networking sites can be seen by your professional network. Who knows what they will pass along?
As Chen says, “You’re hoping that people in your network will refer you to awesome i-banking internships offered by people in their networks, should you really be broadcasting that you’ve just flunked your finance exam?”
Instead, keep things positive. Always assume that the one single comment you just happen to post online in a fit of drunken rage could very well be the one item that shows up on a prospective interviewer’s computer, when they check out your background.
Your online presence is your image. That should make you pause and rethink things, before your next careless post online.
Food for thought? Add your comments below.