Managing Your Online Identity to Land a Job

31 Mar

Social networking websites, like Facebook, MySpace, and LinkedIn are gaining popularity everyday. There are many other networking sites I haven’t mentioned, by we can all agree that these are an excellent way to share photos, videos, and personal information with friends, family, and the world.

Today, we’re going to talk about the top five ways you can effectively and efficiently manage your web identity, to assist you in getting hired for your next position. The key thing to remember when you join and participate in multiple networking sites is this – NOTHING is private!

1. Keep photos from the last weekend’s rave off your profile.
Believe it or not, a prospective employer or recruiter may judge your ability to perform a job based on your “off-work” activities. A good rule of thumb to consider is this….if your mother wouldn’t approve of what you’re doing in a photo, chances are a hiring manager would frown on the activity.

2. You may look good in a bathing suit – but you can’t wear it to work.
It’s one thing to be photographed while at the beach or pool, in a bathing suit. It’s a different story to POSE in a bathing suit or skimpy outfit, and post it to your MySpace profile. Again, if your page is accessed by a hiring manager or decision maker, this leaves a less than professional impression.

3. Do not post negative statements about a former employer.
Remember what your grandma used to say; “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Avoid discussing any negative aspects of your current or former jobs on the internet. This tells any future companies that you are not loyal, and creates immediate trust issues. We all get mad at a boss or colleague now and again, but ALWAYS steer clear of venting publicly.

4. Include a link to your formatted resume.
If you’re already on LinkedIn, your contacts can download your profile in PDF format. On the other social networks, I recommend that you update your status to include the fact you are looking for your next engineering project, or whatever the case may be. Also include a link to your web resume, so any potential hiring authority can have immediate access to your credentials. If you don’t already have a web resume, click here.

5. Even if your profile is set to “private,” it is still accessible using boolean search techniques.
Boolean search is a way of communicating with the search engines to uncover deep information on the web. Don’t fall in to the trap of believing that just because you have set your profile to “private,” that no one can gain access to at least some of the information. Big Brother is alive and well, and when you want to land your next job, you have to make sure you protect any personal information that could be misconstrued as unfavorable.

In today’s society, privacy has literally gone out the window. Each job seeker must guard and manage their personal information that is uploaded to the internet, and ensure the social networking sites do not contain any photos, videos, or postings that give a negative impression to a possible employer. Just remember, if Mom won’t approve, then your new company probably won’t, either.

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