Friday, October 23, 2009

Job-hunting college grads may require extreme social networking makeover

Jeremiah Owyang published an important blog post today, focusing on challenges faced by those seeking full-time social media positions. However, some of his advice applies across the board:

“Candidates should recognize that recruiters and hiring managers are looking at how individuals behave online -it factors into the decision on why they may -or may not be contacted. So before you post that blog lambasting another blogger, or somewhat questionable photos in Facebook, or talking about recovering from your hangover on Twitter, remember that hiring managers are analyzing how a candidate will represent their brand.”

Owyang makes a critical point, one to which all job seekers should pay heed. In the current Web environment in which almost everyone could be perceived as representing his or her company, companies are considering individual reputation of employees more than ever before - even if your role does not include spokesperson activities. This applies to college students as well.

Don’t panic - if your online presence is less than sanitary there are things you can do to clean it up. While, sadly, once you put something on the Internet it pretty much lives forever, you can always move forward for a fresh start. Here are some tips aggregated from everyone mentioned above.

• Limit your profile if you’re looking for a job. Do not hide it, but give it a more professional focus.
• Adjust security or privacy settings so that you can closely monitor which photos in which you are tagged. If given the option, remove the tag, and if the owner of the photo is a supportive friend, ask them to remove it.
• Proactively ask your friends to be conscious of your current job search and to limit their unprofessional behavior on your profile. After all, “guilt by association” is a real thing.
• Once you have the job, still watch what you post on your profiles, especially if you’re connected to your boss or co-workers.
• Make sure your picture is recent and not over-the-top (Smith cautions against “circa 1991 Glamour Shots”)
• Finally, don’t forget the “grandmother rule.”

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