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Rowan Manahan is adamant that he is not a killjoy, but he believes people of all ages should think twice before letting themselves be photographed in an uncompromising position. It could be the very thing that might stop you getting that dream job.

"Anybody who thinks that employers or recruitment agencies aren't looking through your footprint online is extremely naïve," he says.

"And if you think that photograph of you lying in your own vomit at the end of a marathon drinking session won't turn a potential employer off is kidding themselves. There might be some leeway if it's an old photo - and if you have had an impressive career since - but if that was you in a pose that you wouldn't want your mammy to see, I think you safely rule yourself out of the reckoning."

Manahan - a career management consultant - says he routinely goes through the Twitter feed of job applicants on behalf of employers to weed out the not-so-desirables. "I remember one candidate for a senior position who had impeccable experience and education and seemed to be the most suave figure you could imagine. But when I went on his Twitter feed, it soon became very clear that he was a misogynist. It didn't matter about all his attributes: here was somebody who thought that women were second-class citizens. He didn't get called to the final round of interviews as a result and had his misogyny not presented itself online, there's every chance that he would have got the position.

"It's incredible, but some people think that what they put online should have no bearing on their future prospects, but it has a huge bearing because it allows a future employer to get a sense of what you're really like."

Manahan recalls another candidate for a high-ranking position who was undone by his eagerness to badmouth his then employers to his friends on social media. "That was a mark through his name immediately," he says. "What future employer would want to take on someone who might think nothing of bringing their firm into disrepute.

"People have to remember that these are not private conversations," he says. "They are forever preserved online - just like those photographs you thought nothing about in your college days.

"The moral is: think long and hard before you post that hilarious photo or send that outraged tweet. What's done in an instant can live on."

Indo Review