The Internet has changed the way people both do business and look for work. Online networking sites can be great tools for job seekers. LinkedIn, MySpace and Facebook are just a few of the sites that can help get the word out and be a forum to ask for assistance. Yet, in the age of information overload, jobseekers must be aware that social sites can effectively replace an in-person first impression and should be edited rigorously.
It is commonly accepted that potential employers judge appearance and phone etiquette from the start. Advice on how to dress and communicate is available at the UIC Office of Career Services. Yet, information about what is appropriate to reveal online is often overlooked. Compromising pictures, disgruntled updates, and even open affiliation with political and religious groups can effectively meet an employer before a candidate does. When all an employer need do is google a potential candidates name, jobseekers must be keenly aware of how their image is reflected online. This is especially relevant to job hunters who use sites recreationally. As much as documenting every weekend excursion maybe fun, it is also a possible career impediment.
So what should job seekers keep in mind as they create online profiles? First and foremost, remember that employers will be looking! Google yourself. Edit existing profiles thoroughly and critically. Consider how the image you constructed can be interpreted. Delete anything questionable. Once completed, build a profile that reflects the professional you hope to be. This includes pictures and Wall postings. Lastly, do not neglect profiles. Log in periodically to make sure that the photo tagging or comments of others have not marred your online image. Online networking is a valuable tool that can help you make the connection that leads to employment. Just remember to connect with caution.