Controlling your online presence is so important when searching for a job, or really in any case, as you never know who will be reading up about you, or even when they do this. Just because there is an Internet out there where you can publish any thought in your head, and any photo you desire, doesn’t mean you should take the liberty in doing so. Let’s be smart about what we project to the outside world. Realize any employer, business associate, friend, or potential contact may “Google” your name, so be aware of what is out there about you.
1. Google your name, be aware of where you show up, and how your name is being used. This is a double edged sword; you want your name to come up first when people search for your name. The best way to do this is to purchase a domain name with your name. You could set up a wordpress blog there; you could simply leave some basic contact information about yourself, or make it into a personal site. Keep in mind this is your public face, and don’t put anything there that may be potentially embarrassing.
2. Create online professional profiles – LinkedIn.com is a great way to do this. Connect with former and current co-workers, build a resume there, and make yourself visible professionally. Do not put up too much personally information on LinkedIn.com don’t place links to your vacation photos or the like there, keep yourself professional there.
3. Facebook – while everyone may be on Facebook, and Facebook is a wonderful way to connect to our friends, use with caution. You really can’t say anything you like on Facebook without others having access to what you say. Want to complain about the person in traffic, mind your language, want to make comments about your neighbor who has the dog that won’t stop barking, and be mindful in your comments. Funny jokes and comments are fun to engage in, but realize people have lost their jobs over what is posted on Facebook.
4. Online photos – remove any potentionally damaging photos online. There are a lot of photo services out there online that store your photos, but does anyone in the world need to see you drinking from a beer bong? No. Be aware of the photos you are tagged on Facebook, you can remove those tags from your profile, but be aware those photos may still exist somewhere else.
5. Want to remain semi anonymous? Get a separate email address to register to social networking sites, and be aware you can not reveal your true identity to anyone.
6. Watch your social media – be careful of what you tweet; realize that once a comment hits cyberspace, your comment is out there. Again, be mindful of what you discuss online, you never know when this may come back to haunt you.
Controlling your online presence is crucial for many reasons. You never want to isolate yourself from anyone based upon what you have written online. If you simply have a voice you need to express consider doing so anonymously. Things you may want to do to promote yourself are creating your own blog, keep it simple write about hobbies, and possibly charitable causes you are engaged in. Write thoughtful commentary that may be related to your professional life, be known for being an expert. Consider posting to questions others have on LinkedIn.com or creating good questions around your profession. Watch what photos are made available for everyone to see online, be mindful of what you post on Facebook. You have the ability to shape your online presence, and it is easy to do so with all of the social media, blogs, and Web 2.0 sites like Facebook, Stumbleupon, and Hubpages, that you can really use these to your benefit, and you can use them to show people about your skills and your abilities, so why not take that opportunity to do so?