Be Sure Your Online Presence Is an Asset, Not a Liability

computerOver the past few years, I have seen my share of ridiculous—and even inappropriate—photos of friends and family members on Facebook. And I have read a few offensive Twitter feeds (Gordon Ramsey’s rants, anyone?) and skimmed through self-important, content-devoid blog posts of acquaintances. And unfortunately, I can’t get those minutes back.
While social media provides innovative outlets for communication, it also presents potential landmines for uninformed users.
By way of illustration, try this simple test: take a minute and Google yourself. What did you find? Would your current online presence help or hurt your chances of getting an interview for a particular job?
More and more, employers are turning to social media to screen candidates before inviting them for an interview. According to a recent article exit icon1 in the Wall Street Journal, some employers are even cutting back their participation on major job listing sites in favor of conducting more selective searches on social media sites.
What can you do to ensure that you put your best foot forward in this evolving, social media-driven job market? Louise Fletcher, an entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Blue Sky Resumes, suggests the following in one of her articles exit icon1:

  1. Be sure your online profiles are complete. Top links returned on a Google search of my name were my LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook profiles. Because an employer is likely to find you this way, it is essential that your profile be current, error-free—or private. Facebook provides an option for you to view your public profile (what strangers searching for you will see). Be sure that you are comfortable with an employer finding this same information.
  2. Once you are satisfied with the content of your profiles, include the links to these sites everywhere—in your email signature line, on business cards, in your résumé and cover letter—to make it easy for employers to find more information on you.
  3. Write more. Website editors are constantly in need of new content and often welcome pieces by novice authors. You may also decide to start your own blog. Using this platform, you can establish credibility as an expert on your particular area of research fairly quickly, and with short posts (i.e., without devoting an inordinate amount of time to the endeavor). You might even choose Twitter as a platform, which requires even less writing, but allows you to post useful tidbits for people in your field.

Take advantage of these technological and cultural shifts, and separate yourself from the crowd!

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