Increasing Your Internet Presence – Do You Exist?

Do you exist in the ether of the internet? Having a presence in the internet environment is particularly important especially in light of today’s highly competitive job market. Having an internet presence means you can be found in a search, and being able to be found in a search gives you a certain amount of credibility over someone who does not have an internet presence.

When you put your name into a search engine can you be found? If the answer to that question is “No” be ready as the information that follows will forever change that answer to “Yes.”

Today, many human resource department’s search the internet for profiles, photos and other information, good or bad, to learn about and judge prospective new employees.
So it is especially important to think about what you post as your current job or future job search could be affected accordingly Sherry Dyson . I’m sure most of us have heard of someone in the news who lost their job as a result of some unflattering information or pictures showing up on the net. So think about your internet presence as your internet resume. You wouldn’t put unflattering information about yourself on your resume, don’t put unflattering information about yourself out on the internet!

With that in mind, let’s look first at what I call “Safety Tips” before moving on to increasing your internet presence.

Probably the most important thing you should know, if you don’t already, is never to post any information about yourself you don’t want the whole world to know; only post information that you are comfortable with others seeing and knowing. Never post your social security number, bank account or credit card numbers anywhere in a public internet area unless you want your identity stolen. If you have any suspicions, feel threatened or uncomfortable because of something online, report it to the police or the F.B.I. immediately.

Remember, once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information, older versions exist out there somewhere either on a server or on someone else’s computer.

Seriously, in my own very narrow, biased and warped opinion, I recommend not even considering posting your photo. You have no idea how it can be altered. Your face could be photoshopped onto someone else’s body in an unflattering position or setting, or posted in a way you may not be happy about and have no control over. And, if you are like me, dynamic and charismatic in person but look hideous in print, people may judge you by your photo and you could lose out to an interview or a job simply because someone doesn’t like the way you look.

Also, many companies are doing internet searches to supplement their background checks and declining candidates based on what they find, and what they are finding is quite revealing. Like candidates lying about their qualifications, undisclosed criminal behavior, posting unflattering gossip about a former employer, boasting about drinking and doing drugs, revealing confidential information compromising a previous employer’s competitive edge, provocative photographs, and even unprofessional screen names that reveal personal weekend preferences that are better left behind locked doors.
So, let’s try and define an internet presence. I define having an internet presence as when YOU can be found in a search. So, how do you do this? You can do it in several ways and my favorites are; listing yourself on networking sites, becoming an internet author, creating a personal website, and journaling a Blog.

You can start by listing yourself on networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook or MySpace. There are other sites available out there, but these are the most popular. LinkedIn positions itself as a network for professionals of any age. You can post your resume, link up with past and present colleagues and associates, and probably not find any drunken party pictures.

Facebook, positioned more as a social network for professionals, typically attracts the over 30 crowd. Here you can also post a resume and link up with past and present colleagues and associates. My research on this topic indicated that you might find some drunken party pictures here.

MySpace on the other hand, is arguably the most popular social networking site on the net and is primarily aimed at people under 30. It has a wide following and is used by individuals and groups who want to widen their appeal as well as others with unique talents who want broad exposure. With a wink and a nudge I say this site is also a resource if you are looking for pictures of young people having a great time. But like I stated earlier, human resource departments search the internet for profiles, photos and other information to learn about and judge prospective new employees. So it is especially important to think about what you post as your current job or future job search could be affected accordingly. Remember, once you post information online, you can’t take it back. One of my fears is many of today’s young people will come to regret in their later years what they have posted in their younger years.

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