Your First Professional Impression

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Your internet presence is the window into who you are for everyone on the other side of the web. Pearl Mathias tells you how to manage your account on the professional front

The internet today is more than just a social web for interaction. Business and profession has taken over the net as much as recreation has. However, we cannot be as free on our executive profiles as we are on social platforms. For people who haven’t seen or met you and are scouting online for a potential employee, your page will tell them everything there is to know about you, even if it’s the half-truth.

WHY YOU NEED TO GIVE THIS A THOUGHT

Recruiters are relying more and more on online research and many job seekers are already taking full advantage of this. This gives you even more of a reason to be pro-active and create a professional online presence to be proud of. You don’t have to exaggerate about your achievements and talents. All you need to do is be yourself and show your personality, intelligence and interests.

HOW YOU CAN GET STARTED

Social networks like LinkedIn and Twitter are important to join when you’re in college and when you are actively job seeking. Recruiters and hiring managers use them as sourcing tools and having an active presence can lead to getting noticed. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network with over 300 million members in over 200 countries around the globe. Bottom line, it is the network to join if you are a professional, but you must have a good profile and a strategy. Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service you can use to stay updated in your industry, connect with industry professionals and find some of the best hidden jobs out there today. To get started, you need to build a strong student profile. Connect with friends, professors, family, mentors and important people you may have met. Look for specific groups you can join and be a part of discussions. Read up a lot and be updated on industry specific events and happenings. Browse through wanted jobs in your free time so you get an idea of what companies out there are offering. Be careful about what you tweet. Encourage replies given by other people. Always remember that everything you say and put out  there is presented on a public domain.

HOW TO MANAGE YOUR PROFESSIONAL ONLINE PRESENCE
It doesn’t matter if you are a student, small business owner, an educator, a project manager, retail worker, manager or c-level professional, today, all of us need to regularly and comprehensively review our web presence. Here are some of the DO’s and DONT’s you need to follow while working on it.

DO:
* Be aware of how others are representing you online. Monitor friends’ pictures, “tags”, and other content.
* Use neutral photographs on social networking sites. Photos taken that show detail into your personal life are not well perceived by a potential employer.
* Set up a LinkedIn profile. Facebook may connect you to everyone out there, but take advantage of the professional connections that LinkedIn offers you.
* Update your profile regularly. You need to be up-to-date on your tasks and achievements for others to notice what you have done.
* Be careful about the content in your blogs. Posts that feature anything inappropriate about yourself or your employer isn’t taken in good taste.
* Research social networking sites. Know which are frequented most, which will work best for your professional image, and which offer the best privacy controls.

DON’T’s
* Don’t badmouth your current, previous, or future employer online. This information can be easily accessible and it won’t work in your favor henceforth.
* Don’t ignore the importance of having an online presence. A lack of information can be detrimental, as someone with the same name can be mistaken to be you.
* Don’t mention your job search if you are still employed and you haven’t yet informed your supervisor.
* Use your discretion when tagging links to any other site or post which may be inappropriate for your employer.
* Don’t forget that others can view your online friends. Employers may look to find out more about a candidate. Therefore, your friends’ profiles and pictures may influence an employer’s impression of you.
* Most importantly, don’t ever lie on your online space. What you say you have done will catch up with you and you will not be able to get out of it.
Once you have your online presence sorted, you can take things one step further. The new term in the
business web world is ‘Careerpreneurs’. This term refers to people who manage their career like an entrepreneur and promote themselves while looking for opportunities. Remember, the people with the most online visibility are more likely to be picked up by recruiters.
Even if you feel like you don’t have much time, try taking some time out to fill in your pages online. Don’t make the mistake of creating a page and leaving it half done. Your professional online presence cannot be taken lightly by you as it won’t be taken lightly by your recruiter. All the tools you need are at your disposal on the screen in front of you. Get creative, but don’t falsify.

It doesn’t matter if you are a student, an educator or a project manager, all of us need to regularly and comprehensively review our web presence.

 

Volume 5 Issue 7

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