You may not be aware of it, but the way you present yourself on the internet matters. It doesn’t matter if you are a recent graduate, a professional with years of experience or still a student, but dedicating a little attention to your online presence can boost your possibilities of promoting and getting a new job.
There are many social networking sites on the internet. Great tools for promoting yourself online are specialized sites like LinkedIn, which focus on professional networking, or Naymz, which focus on creating a reputational network of people that may potentially refer you. Other sites that you may want to check are AboutUs.org, where you can create a professional profile within your company one, and ZoomInfo, a professional directory where you want to have your profile.
The problem with online networking is not if you use it, but mainly the way you use it. The main difference between these specialized sites and your MySpace or Facebook account is that the specialized sites give you little option to include information that you do not want other people to find about, while MySpace and Facebook do. The main thing with these two sites is that you may be giving an image of yourself that may be cool and fun among your friends, but that is clearly inappropriate in a professional environment. Is not only that your employer (current or prospective, it does not matter) is going to Google you, but they may also look for your information in these social networking websites.
I found via Scott Monty’s The Social Media Blog that according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 80% of the employers Google you, and 20% of them is getting into the social networking sites to learn more about you. Their main areas of concern are the following:
- Information about alcohol or drug use (41% consider this a top concern)
- Inappropriate photos or information posted on a candidate’s page (40%)
- Poor communication skills (29%)
- Bad-mouthing of former employers or fellow employees (28%)
- Inaccurate qualifications (27%)
- Unprofessional screen names (22%)
- Notes showing links to criminal behavior (21%)
- Confidential information about past employers (19%)
In other words, and among many other things, you may not want to post pictures of the last time you got drunk (especially if you are underage), and you may consider changing your screen name from JoeSixPack to maybe your real name/last name.
Finally, just try to think that your online presence may be as valid as your real-world presence, and that no one is anonymous on the net anymore, so you want to make your online profiles look as good as possible