Your Online Image and Your Career

By Paula Santonocito

Woman looking at her reflection in hand held mirrorIt used to be you could check your image in the mirror and know what you were projecting in the workplace. While what you see in the looking glass still counts, what others see when looking online also matters–more than you probably realize.

Screening Job Candidates

For one thing, your online image factors into hiring decisions. And it’s not only traditional employment documentation that companies check out.

Sure, these days, resumes are submitted electronically, companies require that you fill out online applications, and you correspond with prospective employers via email. When looking for a job online, you may even visit a corporate careers site and use an online question-and-answer feature that asks for your name.

But that’s just the surface stuff.

Behind the scenes, recruiters and would-be bosses are also using online social networks and Internet search engines like Google to learn about job candidates.

Public Space

Social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have become extremely popular.

MySpace, the largest social network in North America, boasts more than 110 million monthly active users from around the world, with more than 300,000 new users signing up every day. Facebook’s stats are also impressive; it has more than 60 million monthly active users, with more than 250,000 new registrants every day.

That’s an amazing amount of activity. But what does it mean to you?

If you’re using one of these sites, it could mean a lot.

Unless you limit access to your Facebook or MySpace page, it’s public space. This means any photos, videos, and commentary on your page can be read by anyone on planet earth with an Internet connection.