You are probably familiar with the term “social networking” through Facebook or MySpace. But what sites do you use to gain career information and professional contacts? There's a big difference between a 'network' and a network that can help you advance your career.
Social Networking Can Help or Hinder
DO Learn about and decide which professional networks are right for you. Click here for a list of social networks which may interest you. Control the image you want to project. Use a professional looking photograph on Facebook and LinkedIn instead of one taken at a recent party.
DON’T As for Myspace and other networks where you cannot control what someone else might write on your “wall,” set your site on private. The best way to keep control of photos is to adjust the settings on Facebook, found in the upper right hand corner of the home page. The settings allow any photos tagged of a person to be visible only to that person, and not all their friends. This is the best way to keep embarrassing drunken party pics from threatening someone's job.
DO "Google" yourself. What will a potential employer find if they “Google” you? Because Facebook and MySpace have such high “page ranks,” they often appear at the top of search results. Nobody wants his or her current or future employer to see photos or even worse, videos of themselves in compromising position. Use blog entries and other postings to reflect your talents.
DON’T Never write about your present place of employment or colleagues and never post an entry while at work – a current or future employer could see your time stamp and realize that you are doing personal tasks while at work.
DO Select your "friends" carefully. Determine if you are "friending" someone for job leads or career information. Don’t “friend” a business contact more than once. You don't want to be blocked.