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With the many social networks that are available today, it is important to manage your professional image. How do you portray yourself? What does a potential employer or client see when they Google your name?
Here are three tips on managing your professional image professional:
- Facebook status. Don’t use your Facebook status updates to share information about the actions an employer doesn’t need to know about, censor your wall posts and patrol the posts written by others on your own wall. For example, “Getting trashed” is not an appropriate status update.
- Facebook photos. While you are not expected to be in a business suit in each photo, use caution when uploading or tagging yourself in pictures. Photos that portray you as immature, inappropriate or unprofessional will impact people’s perceptions on your professional image. Keep watch on the photos your friends upload of you as well.
- Facebook apps, fan pages and groups. Some of the applications available on Facebook might be fun, but watch which ones you publish on your wall. Informing people of your results on “What is your stripper name?” might not be the best idea. If you wouldn’t want to discuss it with your company’s CEO or your grandparents, don’t join the group or become a fan.
Some of you might believe that since your profile is set to private, that you will be OK. But, what if your friend works at the company you just applied to? The potential employer could go through your friend to see your profile. In conclusion, think twice before posting to social networks such as Facebook or Twitter.
Managing your image isn’t enough. The next step you should take is to use social networks to enhance your image online. Here are four tips to enhance how potential employers see you:
- Share ideas and information. Did you read an interesting article? Did you learn something new today? Write relevant and useful updates often. Also, consider bookmarking great links on Delicious to share with others.
- Go beyond just joining networks. The best example to use for this is LinkedIn. How many of you are on LinkedIn? And, how many actually use the features of it? Take full advantage of social networking sites. For example, on LinkedIn you can request recommendations, join groups and answer questions.
- Start and maintain a blog. Blogging can display to your leadership and knowledge in public relations. It can help others understand the field and inspire them to take a more active role in developing themselves professionally. Write posts that will showcase your skills, knowledge and ambition and comment on other people’s blogs.
- Create an online portfolio. If you are truly serious about your career, an online portfolio can help promote your personal brand to potential employers. In addition to work samples and your resume, your portfolio also could have recommendations.
First impressions are extremely important. Your social networks can have an affect on them, so be cautious and work hard to enhance your professional image online.