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Online audit of Internet persona

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Online audit of Internet persona improves employment opportunities
Online audit of Internet personaDid another job slip away from you? Did you feel like you got fired before you got hired? Ever wonder why? There are so many dos and don’ts when it comes to jobsearch etiquette, yet many fail to mention painfully obvious and everyday things that could actually cost you a job. There was a day when securing a job meant you had two or three neat references, a well-presented resume and a professional home-phone voice mail. With technology racing ahead at lightspeed, an audit of your online persona needs to be considered. Consider it boot camp for your career.

With companies now using the Internet as an additional reference source, is your online presence squeaky clean? Have you considered Googling yourself or considered your profile on message boards? The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and Friendster may leave you without the job you desire if you don’t consider what prospective employers might not want to know about you. Take a few minutes to assess your social networking profiles and limit what the outside world might be seeing. Consider the photos you attach to written accounts as well as your profile photo – every picture tells a story. What’s yours saying? You may have a clean profile but remember, not everyone you know may have your best interests in mind. Remove any inappropriate tags in other people’s photo albums. Everybody doesn’t need to know about last weekend.

That little sidekick of yours, namely your Blackberry or cellphone, must reflect the person you wish to be, not the party animal you were on Saturday night. A voice mail greeting bellowing“Hey, hey, you know what to do,” will not inspire future bosses to leave you a job offer. Consider your ringtone if it were to go off accidentally at your place of work. Is it appropriate? Converting instant messaging identities to e-mail addresses? Did you ever stop to think if ‘cutiepie’ or ‘j4zzdude1087’ was going to land you the job? Perhaps try [email protected] instead. See if you get any callbacks.

Blogging on public sites can be so cool but so permanent. Those inspired late-night blogs may leave you with a bad feeling the next time you remember to check what you’ve pontificatedon. Would your boss approve?

Be safe and keep political and personal issues out of your online conversations and postings. Also, blogging about how much you despise your current job situation or boss is a definite no-no.

A quick checklist to ensure your online persona is employment-ready:
• A conservative e-mail address;
• A professional outgoingvoice-mail message; and
• A clean Internet profile.

If you don’t want the world to read about it or see it, don’t post it. The Internet is public and information found on it is, inmany cases, permanent. And don’t forget about your personal blog. It may make you hip in your social circle, but if it is accessible to the general public you may wish to do some serious spring-cleaning or plan on keeping that dead-end job. And like the dentist, don’t forget regular online check ups. It’s your career.

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