Be Conscious of Your Online Interactions

Without a doubt, social sites are being used professionally and personally, by numerous methods. Whether it is for networking, job searching, training or merely just staying in touch, it has become a norm in today’s society. Here’s a great resource, courtesy of Workvine, for those who are using it for their next career step and/or searching for a job.

Is Your Virtual Life Negatively Affecting Your Real One?
With the rapid expansion of social networking websites, more and more professionals are looking for work. If you interact with others via the Internet, keep in mind that your activities in the virtual world may leave a lasting impression in the real one.

Your online activities can often become public, and search engines make it quick and easy for hiring managers to learn about you. The current economic environment has also made companies increasingly cautious, and any information that raises a red flag can quickly take you out of the running for a job.

Here are some tips for creating a positive impression in cyberspace:

Activate privacy settings. If you belong to networking sites or have a personal blog, adjust your privacy settings so you control who has access to them.

Exercise discretion. When interacting online, be selective about which venues you participate in and who you allow into your networks.

Stack the deck. Business information websites such as ZoomInfo allow users to post information about themselves, so consider including details about your professional involvement and qualifications on these types of forums.

Network wisely. When using professional networking sites such as LinkedIn to look for job opportunities, behave graciously with everyone you encounter and follow posted protocols. Thank anyone who assists you, and be sure to return the favor when possible.

Share your insights. Posting your comments on industry forums or authoring online articles in your area of expertise is a smart way to reinforce your professional reputation.

Create your own website. Along with showcasing industry knowledge on other people’s websites, you also can create your own web page with links to articles of interest and information about your skills and past achievements.

Do Your References Pass Muster? In the current hiring environment, outstanding references can make or break your chances of getting the job. Even a subtle lack of enthusiasm on the part of a reference can work against you. The best references aren’t necessarily the contacts with the most impressive job titles but those who can speak persuasively about your merits.

In a recent survey, our company asked executives to describe their most unusual reference checks. Here are some of the responses:

“We learned from the reference that the woman we were interviewing liked to go barefoot all day.” “The reference said the prospective employee had difficulty getting to work on time.” “The person said the candidate was hyper and off the wall.” “The reference said the candidate fell asleep during work hours.” “According to the reference, the candidate was very insistent on making his own schedule and rules.”

If you don’t want to end up with these types of recommendations, use the following strategies when selecting individuals to speak on your behalf:

Identify your biggest fans. Always ask permission before using someone as a reference. Pay attention to how quickly and enthusiastically people respond to your request. This “self-reference check” can help you identify the best options.

Give references a ‘heads up.’ Each time you submit a reference list to a prospective employer, let your contacts know so they are well-prepared. Provide them with an updated copy of your resume, and describe the company and position you have applied for, as well as the name of the person who might be calling them.

Express appreciation. Always thank those who agree to serve as references — even if they aren’t contacted by hiring managers. Also, keep them updated on the status of your job search.

Heard in the LunchroomSM is provided by Robert Half, the world’s largest specialized staffing firm and a leading authority on workplace and management trends. For more information, visit

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