As you continue to work hard to obtain computer certifications and the job of your choice, it is time to start paying attention to how employers perceive you.
When Facebook recently announced that it had successfully crossed the 500 million membership milestone, both Internet gurus and users applauded the achievement with much online fanfare. However, there is a south side to the scenario-your prospective employers and recruiters can now learn as much about you as your friends and fans not all of which may exactly be flattering. Bottom line? Your online reputation is just as important as the professional image you happen to project in your resume. As a person looking for employment in the workforce, this holds even more true for you because companies in a variety of industries, but specifically the IT and IT-enabled services industries routinely investigate prospective employees not simply through background investigation firms but also directly on Almighty Google by Googling your name within quotation marks for an identical match within the organic search results. Here are a few potent reasons why you should not simply consider but also implement the strategies outlined below right away once you are ready for the job market upon completing your certifications.
Prioritizing your Commitment to Online Reputation Management
Your online reputation is no longer relevant only to banks, mortgage companies and credit card issuers. Your employer too is very interested in checking you out on the Internet and seeing what others are saying about you. On any platform in which you wish to participate such as blog comments, forum posts and contributions to groups and discussion lists, your “two cents worth” should really be worth a quarter. Your comments and observations should be intelligent, insightful and thought-provoking. Never ever slam, flame or defame a fellow-poster because negative data always tends to stick out like a sore thumb in the minds of those who are checking you out for employment purposes. If there are a hundred comments either by you or about you that happen to be in positive in nature and only one negative comment, your prospective employer is going to remember the latter. Leave it to the psychologists to figure this one out.
Peruse your Facebook Profile with a Critical Eye
Facebook is the primary social media forum that employers are checking out these days and given the recent controversies regarding privacy issues that continue to surround the website, no information about you is protected on Facebook. It is therefore time to become proactive. Replace both covertly and overtly personal photographs with neutral snapshots. Pictures of you hanging around bars and pubs in the company of like-minded creatures will need to go especially if they happen to be “action-oriented.” A little whitewashing Tom Sawyer style just might be in the offing since you will also need to rid your Wall of all detrimental graffiti.
Linking up with LinkedIn the Right Way
If you happen to have a professional work profile on LinkedIn or any of the professional networking social media websites such as ZoomInfo, Tribe.Net, Spoke, Ryze, JigSaw, ecademy and others, take it for granted that your future employers will be paying you a courtesy visit. Like Facebook, these websites too can be accessed in one of two ways-either through a search conducted on the major search engines or through the search function each of the websites has to offer. Your profiles should be crisp, sharp and truly professional with no spelling or grammatical errors. Mention all your computer certifications clearly in reverse chronological order listing the most recent computer certification first. Most importantly, the data you are posting on these websites should remain fully consistent at all times with your resume. If you are a regular participant at LinkedIn Answers and LinkedIn Forums, your contributions should be meaningful and constructive. Many employers pay LinkedIn as a part of their premium service offerings to gain unqualified access to the website through vertical search. It is therefore a good idea to examine your LinkedIn Connections and their Connections just to make sure that you are indeed in the right company and are not perceived as hanging out with the wrong type of online crowd. Your LinkedIn online album and picture gallery should contain only snapshots that project you professionally-making presentations in front of a large audience, attending a meeting, dining with formally dressed colleagues, waiting at the airport reading the Wall Street Journal… you get the picture. You are your own brand and you need to manage it wisely.
Mission-critical tasks such as preparing your resume, organizing your online portfolio and managing your online reputation are just as important as completing your computer certifications. Once you devote a few hours a week to this ramping up exercise you will be ready to storm the job scene and make a mark on the preferred companies of your choice much sooner than you think.