Thursday, March 10, 2011

Online Presence Managment-Making a Good First Impression

In today’s day and age, many potential nonprofit job seekers have their presence all over the web, especially on social networking services like Facebook and MySpace.  Sites like these are great for friends and family, but it can create problems when it comes to employment.  Yes, you and your buddies might find the pictures from your friend’s bachelor party hilarious; but it’s a safe bet that a potential employer will not.  Because of the ease of use of search engines, it has become easier for employers to scout out recent interviewees.  Yes, the internet giveth; but it also taketh away. 

It might sound wrong, but what an employer discovers about your outside life on the internet will indeed be a factor in whether or not you are hired.  In 2005,, a job search and networking website, found that 75 percent (!) of companies use the internet to research job candidates.  And of these, 26 percent have actually decided not to hire candidates because of what they found.  That may not sound like a whole lot but in the big picture, it really is.

All of this information doesn’t mean you have to turn your Facebook or other social networking tools into sterile zones reminiscent of THX-1138.  What it does mean is that when you are applying for a job, you should think twice about the information you choose to share with the world.  With this in mind, here are some tips on how to save yourself from potential embarrassments:

Party Smart
Let’s face it-when you are at a party, you are going to do things that you might later regret.  And chances are there are going to be those that think it would be pretty hilarious to post those pictures of you on the internet.  And really, it’s not just the Facebooks of the world that you have to worry about.  Indeed, there are plenty of public photo sites out there like Photobucket where those harmful photos can be uploaded with ease.  So what we’re trying to say here is this: you can have a good time when you party, but party smart.  Oh, and try to avoid the cameras.

Get Rid of Embarrassing Content
Before you apply for a job, Google yourself and see what you find.  As a matter of fact, you should search for yourself on all of the major search engines.  If you find content about you that could potentially come back to haunt you, attempt to get rid of it.  This can be done by contacting the webmaster and asking that the material be removed from the site in question.  And if you’re too lazy to do this yourself, there are plenty of web services you can use to do it for you, like 

For your personal sites, you should delete anything you don’t want to be seen; even if you think there is no way it will be found.  Remember, there is no such thing as being too cautious when there is a job on the line!

In Conclusion
Social networks are a great tool, and it’s easy to forget that by using them you are really putting yourself out there for the world to see.  I’ll end with this: you don’t need to be paranoid about what you post; you just need to be smart.

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