Use Google & Facebook to Boost Your Career!

This powerful business article is a guest post written by Linda Griffin, "Use Google & Facebook to Boost Your Career!"

I received a Linked In request yesterday from an old friend and colleague. Through various work-related moves and relocations, we had lost touch. He is currently working for a company that has been affected by the economic crisis. His job isn’t in jeopardy right now, but he decided to start building his online presence and network now so that he will be prepared if his situation changes in the future. My friend is taking a proactive approach which we can all emulate.

More and more companies are using online networking sites to investigate candidates, and you might be surprised at the amount of information that is currently available about you.

Don’t be in the position of not knowing what will come up when a recruiter searches the web for information about you. Even if you’re not looking for a job, making the time to create and manage your online reputation is an important aspect of taking charge of your personal brand. Here are eight ways to get started:

1. Do a Google search on your name. First search for your name as you write it most often. Then include different variations such as your full name, nickname, middle name or initials. This will give you an idea of what information is out there on you. If nothing comes up, or if the information is negative, you will need to take control and build/repair your reputation. Remember: nothing is ever deleted from the web. Your only option is to develop enough good, current and relevant information to cancel out the negative.

2. Pick one variation of your name to use in all official correspondence, like resumes. This will help you direct recruiters and HR professionals to the brand you actively manage and direct them away from any inaccurate or questionable information.

3. To stay informed on what information is out there about you, set up a Google Alert for your name. I get an email notification anytime my name appears on the web either in articles, news reports or blogs. Go to http://www.google.com/alerts to set it up. Select ‘Comprehensive’ as the type, and ‘once a day’ as the frequency. That way you’re not inundated with emails.

4. Be proactive! Set up robust profiles on networking sites, such as Linked In, that are frequented by recruiters and HR professionals. Make it as complete as possible, ensuring that your work experience, education and expertise are included. Recruiters and HR managers use keywords when searching for potential candidates, so the more complete your profile, the better chance you have to be selected.

5. Join any industry specific forums and networking sites that apply to you, and follow the same steps as you used with Linked In.

6. Seek out connections on your networks. One person might be the key to finding your perfect job. Be selective in who you accept into your network. Some people are just trying to sell you a product or get access to your friends so they can sell them products. Always check the profile of the person requesting a connection to ensure that it makes sense to connect.

7. If you use social networks such as Facebook or MySpace, manage your privacy settings so that you control who sees what. Make sure that potential employers won’t have access to questionable or inappropriate information.

8. Boost your reputation by writing reviews on Amazon for books in your industry, and by asking and answering questions on forums.

Finally, don’t stop managing your online reputation after you find a job. You always want to be in a position to take advantage of the next opportunity.

Check out her blog, "Career Shock":http://www.careershock.com and "add her":http://www.womenco.com/member/LindaG to your WomenCo. network!
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