Do You Know What Your On-Line Presence Says About You

Your Internet Presence

Virtually everyone today has an Internet presence. If for some reason you do not; you will attract as much attention as you would with a poor Internet presence. What story does your Internet presence tell people?

Have you ever taken the time to Google your name, enter it on Yahoo, or Bing? You must do this; you must know what is on the Internet pertaining to you! Go to Google.com and type in your name, press the enter key, and see what comes up. Are you happy with the result? Are you seeing, and therefore a recruiter or hiring manager seeing, what you would like them to see?

What Is Unacceptable Information

Things that are unacceptable include:

  • Pictures that show you in compromising situations.
  • Inappropriate language or posting from you or your friends.
  • Pictures or stories that include you in illegal activities, even as basic as under age drinking.
  • Discussions and stories that are derogatory to you or others.
  • Negative comments you have made about employers, businesses, other people
  • Negative comments about teachers, managers, supervisors, and other authority figures.
  • Insulting or disparaging comments about friends and associates.

Any of these items can be the negative that causes the recruiter or hiring manager to reject you as an employee. This is not discrimination, this is just business. Businesses cannot afford to hire employees that may bring discredit on the business, negative attention, or other adverse effects.

What employees and prospective employees bring to the business can be critical to the business success. You, as an employee, must bring positives; not negatives.

How Do You Clean Up Your On-Line Presence?

Cleaning up your on-line presence starts with your Social Networking. You need to remove any photos or information that is negative. If you started the discussion, you can delete the entire discussion. If you commented on a discussion, you can remove your comments. If you have friends or connections that are offensive you can unfriend or remove them.

Take the offensive information out of your on-line presence and do it now!

What If Your Removal Offends Your Friend or Friends

If the postings of friends and connections is negative, you can ask them to change their behavior because it jeopardizes your opportunities. If they are unwilling to help you, then they truly are not very good friends and you are probably better off without them.

If you are serious about having a good on-line reputation, then you must think of yourself first and make the necessary choices. Obviously your goal is not to hurt others or their feelings, but it is to ensure that you are presented in a positive light.

After the Clean Up

Once you have cleaned up those things that you can; what is left? If you still have negative or derogatory information, what can you do to eliminate or at least mitigate the impact.

One way is to create positive Internet articles related to you. Participate in events or organizations that generate positive information and get involved. Join organization boards, involve yourself in civic activities, write your own blog articles, comment on popular blogs and leave your name, join LinkedIn, Facebook, and other Social Networking sites that receive high search engine rankings. Build your connections and friends lists which will raise your rankings. Create a Google Profile, put positive postings and videos on YouTube.

If you have many negatives associated with a Social Networking profile, delete the profile and start over.

What If the Negatives Are from Someone with the Same Name?

If you are being haunted by someone with the same name that has negative information; do not despair, you can address that as well.

Some of the steps you can take include:

  1. Post a consistent professional picture with all of your profiles.
  2. Use your middle initial, middle name, maiden name, nickname, or something else that will differentiate you.
  3. Create an Internet Gravatar (picture) that can be used for postings on sites where you cannot add your picture.
  4. Change your reference on your sites to a consistent name. Use the username function on Facebook, the change profile name on LinkedIn, Twitter, etc., to capture your identity. Choose a name combination that no one else is using.

    Cut, purge, erase, delete, replace, create, post, comment, participate, and do any other positive things you can to recreate your on-line profile in a positive manner.

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Summer Jobs – Are You Ready

A Little Ground Work Is Important

Are you hoping to get a summer job? What steps are you taking to make that happen?

Getting a summer, job in today’s job market, is not as simple as walking up, getting an application, filling it out, and getting hired. You must be prepared by doing the groundwork and your homework.

Here are some basic steps:

  1. Clean up your Social Networking sites.
  2. Identify your target work location.
  3. Will they be hiring this summer?
  4. When will they be hiring?
  5. How many do they plan to hire?
  6. What Is the Projected Start Date?
  7. What Is the Projected End Date?
  8. When will they be accepting applications?
  9. What is the application process?
  10. Do you need a resume?
  11. After the application process what comes next?
  12. Who is the hiring manager?
  13. What do they look for in an employee?
  14. Have them describe their ideal employee.
  15. What can you do to ensure that you are the one to be hired?

Clean Up Your Social Networking Sites.

If you have questionable content on your Facebook, MySpace, or other Social Networking sites clean it up. Over 60% of employers will check and with high school and college students, the percentage increases dramatically. Employers do not wan employees that will potentially bring negative attention to their organization.

Google yourself and see what comes up. If it is negative see what you can do to get positive information to come up at the top of the search. Joining Facebook, LinkedIn, creating a Google profile, and posting to your blog; are all ways that you can add information to a Google search that will rise to the top. Get people to click on your blog and these other materials to increase the visits and again raise the ranking.

Identify Your Target Work Location.

What is your short list of places where you would like to work this summer? Make a list and start working the list; contact anyone of interest.

Will They Be Hiring This Summer?

Find out the summer hiring plans. If they will not be hiring move on. If it is a maybe mark it as such.

When Will They Be Hiring?

What is their hiring timetable? How does that fit with your availability? If that does not fit your schedule what alternative arrangements might be available?

How Many Do They Plan To Hire?

How many will they be hiring? Will they hire everyone at the same time?

What Is the Projected Start Date?

How does the schedule fit with your schedule? If the schedules do not match, can you work something out? Is there any flexibility?

What Is the Projected End Date?

When do they see the summer jobs ending? Is there a set date or does it depend upon availability?

When Will They Be Accepting Applications?

Find out the date when they will start accepting applications and plan accordingly. Make sure you are timely. Check out the process ahead of time to ensure that you will have all the answers to the questions.

What Is the Application Process?

Is the application process a kiosk at the employer’s location (i.e. Target, WalMart, Albertsons, etc.), is it on-line (CostCo, Home Depot, etc.), or is it a paper process (McDonalds, Burger King, mom and pop, etc.). Know ahead of time and be prepared. If it is a kiosk or on-line one of the first questions will be if you have filled out the application. A “no” answer will be their first reason to dismiss you. You must be prepared.

Do You Need a Resume?

Some places may want a resume in addition to the application, be prepared and have one available. List previous employment, organizations (especially leadership roles), and do not put references. They will ask for those.

After the Application Process What Comes Next?

Know what to expect after completing the application. If the next step is to meet with a hiring manager, when are they available? If there are certain days and times, know as much up-front as possible. This saves you the inconvenience, but even more it shows commitment, determination, and most of all interest!

Ask when you can check back. But do not simply say that say “When I follow up do you prefer I call or come in?” This approach gives them no option on whether you will follow up; only on how you will follow up.

What Do They Look For in An Employee?

Employers do not discriminate, they just know what they want and prefer. Visit the location and look around. If the employees look like skaters (that is the desired image at some businesses) and you are clean cut that will tell you something. It tells you what they look for and hire, but it also begs the question is this what you want?

Have Them Describe Their Ideal Employee.

Have them describe their ideal employee. You should get this as early as possible and ideally before completing the application. If they are looking for people that are sports oriented, you want that on your application. If they are academically oriented you want that on your application.

What Can You Do To Ensure That You Are the One To Be Hired?

Express your profound interest in working for them and the reasons for that interest and then ask: What can I do so you will hire me? How can I prove to you that I am the one you want?

Are You Exploiting Change to Create Your Opportunities?

Change: Where Your Opportunities Lie

Change is ever present in our lives and in our world and as long as change exists; opportunities will exist. With every change there is a multitude of opportunities that surface. Those that are prepared will see the opportunities, while those that are unprepared will lament the changes.

Your Ability To Recognize Opportunity Is Dependent Upon Your Ability To Recognize Change

Opportunities come along as the result of change. If you are seeing opportunities look for the underlying changes that are occurring. Once you find those underlying changes; you can look for the opportunities.

Embracing Change

When a change is announced within your organization embrace it, jump at it, volunteer to be part of it. In today’s world you must be looking for every competitive advantage you can have and change is one of the things that will bring opportunities your way.

If your company is adopting a new technology, not just new to them, but new period. Raise your hand early and often to participate in learning about the technology and bringing it into your organization. Somewhere, someone made a commitment to this new technology and the implementation will take leaders; be one of them.

Get excited about the new technology and take every opportunity to learn about it. If you are in a department within the organization that is not directly involved; find out how it might impact your department and become the local resident expert on the technology. Do whatever you can to learn about the technology and be able to apply it in your area.

Often times new technology comes with unfriendly user manuals; identify the problem, and then start developing the customer manuals and training that will make your department members more productive faster. Be the innovator and the catalyst as the early adopter of the technology.

Change Can Be Your Friend

Did you know that change can be your friend? Typically it is because of change that we have the opportunity to pick up new skills or attend new training. Because of those new skills or training our value to our current and future employers increases.

We now have one more skill or trait to add to our resume. We have one more class to add to our educational profile. Adding skills, abilities, and training makes us more desirable as an employee and we should seek out these opportunities wherever we might find them.

How To Exploit Change

Change always needs a leader and those that raise the issue and make the justified case for change often become the leaders for the change process. Opportunities lie in change and when you can foster and lead the process you raise your visibility. When you are successful; you raise your value.

How Can You Benefit From Change?

Your willingness and ability to dig into and learn the details will set you apart from others within your organization. By getting in on the ground floor you can also become a sought after expert. Other organizations that are not the early adopters will be looking for people that are experienced with the technology when they are ready to implement. If you have taken the opportunity to create your brand and increase your sphere of influence can lead to many lucrative opportunities with other organizations.

Using LinkedIn to Get a Job

LinkedIn is an essential tool for all job seekers. See the full article – Use LinkedIn to Get a Job

There are a few important tips that must be clarified on this list.

  1. A complete profile is important as stated, but you should keep your job titles consistent whenever possible. If you led a marketing group and one position was the director of marketing and the other vp of marketing this will look different in the search results. What can you do to make these similar for a search? This is as important to optimizing the search as having many contacts. You also want to use the phraseology consistently within your job descriptions and summary areas.
  2. Inviting people into your network is important, but they should be quality people. What I mean is they should be connected. Inviting someone with only a handful of connections does little for extending your sphere of influence. Compare inviting someone with 5 connections to someone with over 500 or even a few thousand. It makes a world of difference in your connectivity and exposure.
  3. LinkedIn can have a lot of information on your target company in addition to people. Glean the information on dollar sales, number of employees, etc. Be especially watchful of the comings and goings of individuals. You can see who has joined recently, who has been promoted recently, who has left, executives, etc. Is there upheaval happening, LinkedIn could tip you off.
  4. Join groups wisely. You are limited to 50. If you have target companies find out which groups the people working for that company have joined and join them yourself and become a participant. When they see your name coming from multiple directions it adds to your credibility. Join active groups. Look at the number of members, the number of discussions, the number of jobs posted; if the group has no activity it will not be effective. That is a group of joiners, not participants.
  5. When you participate, really participate. Don’t think that an off-hand great post, means you are participating. You need to be sharing information that will resonate with the group.
  6. Remember there are two types of job postings on LinkedIn. Those posted by recruiters, HR departments, etc that are paid and found under the jobs search and those that are posted by group members. From my experience these are separate and distinct lists.
  7. Participating in the questions and answers is great. One caution, however, post based upon your expertise, don’t hang yourself out there as the expert. There is always someone that will want to prove that you are not the “expert”. I have seen some very long and boring conversations as someone tries to push someone else off their perch.
  8. The LinkedIn search has awesome power and most people barely scratch the surface. Get daring and experiment with your searches; I guarantee that you will be amazed at what you find.
  9. Great point on promoting your blog and website. You must change the name to something that is more descriptive. Remember there is a search process that goes on and anything on your profile page is fair game for the Search Engine.
  10. My tidbits – contribute, contribute, contribute, and be consistent! When you add value to your network and groups you build your credibility, reliability, and trust. Consistency shows that you are not just someone that jumps in because you have nothing better to do.
  11. Comment on promotions of others in your network. Those comments get displayed to everyone on the recipients list.