Posts Tagged ‘ professional image ’

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Drunk GroupI recently shared suggestions on managing and enhancing your professional image online. But, I found this post interesting: “Recruiters shouldn’t care about that Facebook picture of your beer pong game in college” by Shel Holtz.

My opinion is that even though they probably shouldn’t care, and while we would hope that they wouldn’t care, some of them probably do. What you post on Facebook and other social networks helps create your image online. How do you want to be perceived by recruiters?

First impressions are very important.

Heather Huhman, a hiring manager and founder of Come Recommended, said poor first impressions through social media can negatively affect her opinion on candidates.

“For me personally, I dislike foul language more than drunk photos. I think that’s far more unprofessional than crazy photos because I realize that college kids do party,” Huhman said.

In a field such as public relations, how you communicate is key in your career. Huhman also warns of sharing extremely private information, such as information about your sex life.

“Again, it goes to the professionalism of the candidate. First impressions are one-shot deals,” she said.

Huhman mentors students and recent grads about many things, including build a professional image online. I work with Huhman and her company Come Recommended. Come Recommended is an exclusive online community, connecting intern and entry-level job candidates to employers. Both the employers and the candidates must “come recommended” by having at least three recommendations before they can access the community. Sites like these can help build your image positively.

Filter for the sake of your career.

Some people won’t care about what you say and do online. But, do you want to take that chance?

I suggest you filter some things online. Foul language and excessive personal information (example: sex life) should probably not be discussed. If you’re already well-known in your career, like Penelope Trunk, you might be able to get away with it.

But, if you aren’t famous and you’re just starting your career, you may want to be more careful. I’ve had potential employers e-mail me about my blog, supervisors read my blog and coworkers add me as a friend on Facebook.

You never know who is reading your posts or viewing your photos. Show your personality, but filter out the things that portray you negatively.

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

About

Rachel M. Esterline works in public relations and marketing communications. Her blog, ExPRessions, contains her musings about PR, marketing, career and professional development, Gen Y issues, personal branding and more. Rachel also does freelance consulting and writing. She is originally from Genesee, Mich., and will graduate from Central Michigan University in May 2010.