Boot Camp for your Career. An Audit of Your Self Image

Chris Brogan’s post,You are the President of Your Career, reminded me that a short rant on social networking sites and other friendly neighbourhood job stuff might be quite fitting.

Some thoughts…And if you are a manager….consider this your heads up.stairs

Did another job slip away from you? Did you feel like you got fired before you got hired? As a manager, did you ever get that funny feeling about someone? Ever wonder why? So many ‘dos and don’ts of job search etiquette exist yet many fail to mention some painfully obvious and everyday things that could actually cost you a job or let a turkey slip in.

There was a day when securing a job meant that you had two to three neat references, a well presented resume and a professional home phone voice mail. With technology racing at light speed, an audit of your self image needs to be considered. Consider it ‘boot camp’ for your career.

With companies now using the internet as their ‘extra’ reference source, is your ‘online presence’ squeaky clean? Have you considered ‘googling’ yourself or considered your profile on message boards? The popularity of social networking sites like Facebook, and MySpace may leave you without the job you desired if you don’t consider what prospect employers might not want to know about you. Take a few minutes to assess your social networking profiles and limit what the ‘outside world’ might be seeing.

Another new contender on the scene: xobni. This free app is an outlook plug in that has the ability to pull profile pictures from social networking sites. If you email your resume to a potential employer and they have xobni, they will get a preview picture of you in their inbox. Consider the photos you attach to your accounts as well as your profile photo– every picture tells a story. What’s your story?

And more than that, you may have a clean profile but remember that not everyone you know has considered this. Remove any inappropriate tags on other people’s photo albums. Everybody doesn’t need to know.

And that little side kick of yours, namely your blackberry or cell phone, must also reflect the person you wish to become not the party animal you were on Saturday night. Consider your ringtone if it were to go off accidentally at your place of work. Is it a fit?

IM identities (instant messaging) to email addresses. Did you ever think that ‘cutiepie’ or ‘j4zzdude1087’ was going to land you the job? Perhaps try ‘’ instead. See if you get any call backs.

Blogging on public sites. So cool but so permanent. Those late night inspired blogs may leave you with a bad feeling the next time you remember to check what you’ve pontificated. And need I mention blogging about how much you despise your current job situation or boss? Ouch.

The internet is public and information found on it is, in many cases, permanent. And don’t forget about your personal blog. It may make you hip with your social circle but if it is accessible to the general public you may wish to do some real clean up or find yourself in an awkward situation on the job.  And like the dentist, plan to do regular check ups. It’s your career.

~ Sarah McNeill

Photo credit: seier+seier+seier


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