Crafting Your Online Presence

The average person is spending more time on the internet than they ever before. Life revolves around social media accounts like Twitter, Naymz, Linkedin, and Facebook. In reality, having a profile on any of these social media sites is like virtually exposing yourself to the world and they can be just as important to your online image as your attire and manner are to your offline image. Therefore, you need to keep these accounts well-managed, updated at all times, and free from images or information that might put you in a bad light.

Social media is a great way to make initial contact with potential business associates and to effectively manage a much larger network than would be possible offline. It is also likely that, unbeknownst to you, your social media profiles are being checked by prospective and current employers, head hunters, and so forth. Thus, social media is a double-edged sword: it can work for your benefit but if not managed properly can lead to missed job opportunities or even termination.

The best way to work with social media is to ensure it works positively for you at all times. The following tips will help you receive the maximum benefit from your online presence and avoid negative results:

  1. Avoid uploading inappropriate photos. A holiday snapshot with your family is fine but one where you are improperly dressed or engaged in inappropriate activity (drinking, partying, etc.) might damage your professional image. With the internet, these sorts of things can potentially go viral in a hurry and you should never assume anything is private after you’ve posted it somewhere on the net.

  2. Be careful about giving your opinions and views on certain subjects in public places. You’ve probably seen a number of celebrities and public figures lately who have regretted posting something on Twitter that ended up costing them a great deal, even their jobs.

  3. If you maintain a personal blog, understand that it may be visited by anyone in the world (including your boss). It is best to keep the content unbiased and steer away from any racist, political, or religious issues or negative comments about the company you work for (or your boss, for that matter). You could also utilize your blog to discuss relevant industry topics and as a place to show off your technical knowledge.

A consistent online presence is important and even some modest efforts will help ensure that your online brand matches not only your offline image but also the professional persona you want to portray to the world. With recruiters and potential employers lurking about the web, it pays to be prudent and proactive.

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