It's no lie that the Internet has become the primary form of communication what with email, the endless number of websites full of information, and the vast world of Social Networking. Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn being some primary sites where people are now connecting for a plethora of reasons - meeting new friends, finding a special someone, reconnecting with old acquaintences, or finding employment.
However, it is not only those looking for work that scan these social networks. Employers are now looking to them when considering new applicants. Keeping this in mind, if you belong to any/all the social networks, know that employers are looking for you. Here are a few Do's and Don'ts when it comes to your personal social network profile:
This is the first thing a potential employer will see. Represent yourself how you would like to be considered.
A nice clear shot of you - it doesn't need to be a modeling headshot, but picture of you kayaking, walking, etc. will give employers a good idea of your activities, lifestyle, and personality.
Do not represent yourself with a picture of you consuming alcohol, half-clothed, and/or engaging in any activity that may be deemed "questionable."
If you have a public profile, anyone and everyone can and most-likely will view it.
Use correct spelling, grammar, and wording. Talk openly and honestly about your beliefs, music/movie/tv/book likes and dislikes, and provide a professional description of yourself. This will give employers a taste of who they're hiring.
Do not attack people via hateful and vulgar language. Employers want to know they're hiring a team player. Insulting others is a surefire way to keep you from getting the job.
Your Personal Blog:
Keep your personal blog updated and fresh. A blog is possibly the best method of conveying to an employer who you are. You have complete control over the content, layout, and overall mood of it and can choose to include it or not on your resume. If you do include it, make sure it's relevant to the position. If you're applying for a Legal Secretary position and you have a law blog, include the link. If your blog highlights your parrot learning to speak, exclude it. And if you don't have a blog, start one.
Keep the content fresh and professional. Think of your blog as a portfolio and a way to sell yourself. Highlight personal accomplishments, keep the layout clean and simple, and post goals for yourself. Let an emplyer know you're motivated and have a purpose.
Avoid a hazy story about a night of debauchery, unless, perhaps, you're a Bar Scene writer, but those jobs are few and far between. Keep it classy.
Online privacy is a tremendously debated and heated issue, of course. And MySpace and Facebook do allow you to customize your privacy settings.
Just remember that employers are now on these sites and they're looking.
On a lighter, less cautious note:
The either notorious or famous (depending on your feelings for Winter) Punxsutawney Phil emerged early this morning and saw that shadow of his. Six more weeks of Winter here we come.