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Manage Your Online Presence and Impress Employers…Create a Blog!

Monday, November 02, 2009

For years, I’ve been telling the students I’ve presented to that they should be mindful of their Facebook presence. Employers can and will research potential hires on the web, and they may think twice about hiring an applicant if they find something they don’t approve of or worse.

Even if something inappropriate is a joke, what does it say about the maturity level if they’re posting it on a public forum that can be accessed by nearly everyone?

Facebook is billed as a private network—although there are certainly ways around that—but this speaks to a larger issue: What about one’s internet presence in general? You can bet that if employers are searching Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and others, then they’re probably going to do a standard Google search as well.

Have you ever Googled yourself? If not, I highly recommended that you do, especially if you have a unique name.  You may be surprised what you find.

One way to turn a potential negative into a certain positive is to start a blog. I know what you’re thinking: “C’mon Brad, I don’t have enough time for that, and I don’t know what to write about anyway.” But that’s not true. You know a lot, whether it’s about your current industry or an industry you hope to break into. You can post links of interest, you can write about industry topics, and you can even mix in some simple things that are interesting to you. Obviously, you’ll want to keep it all G-rated because the point, after all, is to make yourself more attractive to potential employers.

It doesn’t matter if only your mom reads it initially. Just go for it. You can actively promote the blog by including it in your email signature, posting links on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or even email-blasting your friends. Chances are you won’t become the next Perez Hilton, but that’s not the goal here. If you do a good job, other people will link to it, and eventually it’ll be right there in Google under your name.

Employers like well-rounded candidates, and showing that you have varied interests will make you more attractive. Companies can always use good writers, so if you have above-average writing skills, showcase those too. You never know, you may have a common interest with an HR recruiter or hiring partner, and there’s no better way to break the ice during an interview.

Lastly, have fun with it. There’s always some down time during a job search or when you’re in school. Why not take the time to put yourself and your interests out there? As long as you do quality work and don’t write anything you wouldn’t say to your grandmother at the dinner table, it should be a great asset to your career.

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