Friday, January 12, 2007

Big Brother is watching, and reading your work email

Did you see a posting for a great job and you want to send your resume? My words of advice are, don't send an email from your current employer's system.

As a job hunter, you want to respond quickly to job postings. Many of us are on our emails first thing when we get to work, and check it regularly throughout the day. Friends send us jokes, family checks in with us, and colleagues shoot out quick messages that need our attention. It's easy to forget that the email system is legally the company's property.

A company has the legal right at anytime to review an employee's emails. Another fact is that email is a written document that can be used in a court of law. So, when you send off your resume to the competition for a job and your employer finds out they can terminate your employment based on improper use of company equipment and systems.

That email you sent with your resume had better be a good one if it means losing your job.

So, when looking for a job, only use personal email accounts for correspondence. Personal email accounts are confidential and cannot be searched by your employer. I also recommend not looking for a job on the company internet because your website visits can also be tracked by your employer.

Having your own email account is simple, and probably takes as long as 3 minutes to set up. I recommend anyone who is actively looking for a job to set up a gmail, hotmail or yahoo account immediately. These email accounts are free for the bare bones features, but all you truly need is an email address where companies can contact you.

So send off those resumes and contact hiring managers or human resource managers all you want through your personal email address. And remember to check your email daily to make sure you are on top of any messages you might have.

Oh, and a personal cell phone or voicemail system is a high priority. Just remember to keep your message professional.


Anonymous said...

Hi, amy, very interesting blog, I'll keep reading, though I'm not looking for a job.
Not just e-mail: the company owns the computer and all the systems and can keep track of every website an employee visits. We recently had an employee get fired because the supervisors were able to track his internet use and discovered that he was spending a lot of time looking at video sites and playing on-line poker.

Aside from my "real" full-time job as a journalist, I have a website for wine reviews and commentary and a blog for drinking and dining. These amount to my second full-time job.

Amy said...

Thanks Fredric:

You are indeed correct that the company can terminate employment for misuse of their computer systems. One large company I worked with had to put netnanny on their system to prevent a recovering web "addict" from viewing inappropriate pages--but that was a very nice gesture on the company's part--most don't go that far. Thanks for the message, I'll hop over to your website.