Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Residency Application: How to be safe online and on social media

True Story:
A resident few years back went on vacation to California. After one week she called in sick and requested her vacation to be extended for one more week, meanwhile her facebook profile and status updates told a different story. Every day she kept posting new updates and pictures of her being on the beach, partying and having a great time. Not surprisingly people from her residency program were also friends with her on facebook. She got fired.

Another true story:A ER physician made an irresponsible comment on facebook. She got fired also. Here is the link to that story

We live in communication era. The world is smaller than ever. A lot of times we dont realize that what ever we do online, leaves an electronic foot print.
A lot of employers now a days search for their current or prospective employees on the internet. Residency programs are no different

As interview and match season is fast approaching, I suggest the following to stay safe online.

1) Clean up your social media accounts. Make them look professional. If there is something on your facebook , youtube , twitter etc accounts that looks unprofessional, remove it. Be careful in expression your social, political or religious views.

2)If you cannot cleanup your accounts, you can change your name, (specially last name) and may be make a new account with your real name.

3) Hiding you account (by making it private) is also an option but I think having a professional account supporting your application is better than having no account. Also facebook is known to change its privacy settings off and on, exposing your private information publicly. They have done it in the past and they will definitely do it again in future.

3)Check your public youtube profile. It can show you uploaded, liked or commented videos

4)When participating in online forums dont use your real name. In your forum profile consider slight modification of your usmle scores etc so that they cannot be traced back to you.

5)Dont brag about pre-match offers, interview offers on forums, facebook etc. My residency program director told me about an incident where he offered pre-match to a female applicant. Same evening the applicant went on forum told other people about the offer. She also asked others about their opinions about the program. She was not using her real name on forum but she was the only person who got the pre-match offer that day!

6)Google search you name once every few month. Some times you will be surprised by the information about you that pops up

Gook luck people. Please comment to let me know what you think.