Your Online Persona Karma… Good or Bad?
Although presenting an A-list resume and sending a winning application letter is standard procedure in the guidebook to getting the job, the invention of globalization brings bigger monsters to slay when it comes to job application.
The monster in question is of course… the internet. It is no longer surprising to find out your would-be employers have been stalking you on Twitter, MySpace AND Facebook. Nor should it be surprising when they decide against hiring you because you advertise your insecurities on your terribly search-engine-friendly blog.
Before you decide to delete every single trace of yourself online, think about improving your online presentation instead. Everything you do online and offline links back to you, so keep a watchful eye on yourself. Be more discerning of the things you post, say and do, since these are the things that create your personal brand.
Yes, think of yourself as a brand to market. Develop an inner PR person to watch your tongue and your typing fingers. Welcome to the future, where online image is as essential as real time image.
At the very onset, you must be sensitive of your broadcasted image, whether you need a job now, or in the future. Apart from being careful about what you post about yourself, watch out for what others might post that may have repercussions on your reputation. You should also be careful about the people you associate with online, the same way you do offline. People can easily copy paste your stuff onto their own websites, stuff that you might not want to someday find on your doorstep. These may come back to haunt you when you least expect (or need) it!
Apart from all of that, be careful about what websites you visit. IP addresses are easy to trace. A lot of things can be assumed depending on your internet surfing behavior. Practically living online is a tell-tale sign of a compulsion, and how (un)potentially productive you can be in the work place. Now this isn’t usually used by employers- but a good thing to keep in mind.
Forum posts and interactions on comments also lend a hand to your online image. If you are irate, or a troll, this might be seen as a sign that you could be a difficult employee to deal with on a personal level. You should also consider how consistent your application is with the voice you broadcast on your personal websites, lest you want to give off the impression of being two-faced. And trust me, you don’t. On the other hand, employers love intelligent blogs, tactful status updates and tasteful posting. If you have the kind of image that tells them you’re perfect for the job, even on a medium as free wheeling as the internet, you’re likely to get it.
It is natural for your employers to want to know what you’re like on a day-to-day basis, and at the moment, the internet is the best place to find out. Be careful with the image you’re cultivating. This means not only being careful about what you say or do online, but being mindful of what others might say about you.
I am the least internet-cautious person you will ever meet. I don’t sit around being scared all day that my info will be stolen or that Big Brother is watching my every move…I am just not that interesting… but when it comes to who you are online- make sure it is as professional as you are in the workplace. Period.