Destroy Your Investment Banking Career In One Tweet?

Okay, we’ve warned you to watch everything you post online. Now comes evidence of an organized effort by employers to search out every indiscreet tweet prior to hiring you for an investment banking job.

A company in California called Social Intelligence Corp. will sift through the Internet on behalf of employers, and look for any faux pas, off-color comments, or potentially discriminating remarks that you have posted to Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and LinkedIn. They’ll compile it into a report for the employer which could very well ruin your chances of landing a potential job, says William D. Cohan in an article from Bloomberg.

If one needs any more proof that a mis-Tweet can sink one’s career, think only of Congressman Anthony Weiner’s highly-publicized self-destruction. But in his article, Cohan wonders whether we have gone a bit too far in pursuing electronic background checks.

“Once upon a time, before the Internet, such sleuthing would have been nearly impossible, meaning that many people happily and productively employed in the highest ranks of corporate America no doubt have committed inchoate acts of foolishness that today would be punished early and often,” says Cohan. “Can this be considered progress or evidence that Big Brother is very much a part of daily life?”

It’s the beginning of a “slippery slope” that may actually be taking away our individual liberties, rather than preserving them.  A single comment or mistake could potentially ruin your career chances or prevent you from being hired by a first that’s particularly sensitive about its reputation. A Goldman Sachs, for instance.

What’s worse, when employers use these new background-checking firms, you may never learn about it. You could be skipped over repeatedly for jobs without ever knowing the reasons why. Or having a chance to set the record straight.

Today, it might very well be that the less you have online, the better off you’ll be in the bricks-and-mortar world. What’s your take? Have you become extra cautious with your online activity since you entered, or decided to enter, the world of finance? Add your comments below.

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