Jacquelyn Lynn - Online Consumer Advice and Commentary

Jacquelyn Lynn is a business writer whose dynamic books and insightful articles have been helping business owners and managers work smarter and more profitably for more than two decades. She is the author of Entrepreneur’s Almanac, Online Shopper’s Survival Guide and co-author of Make Big Profits on eBay, as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine. For more information and for the link to her business blog, visit www.jacquelynlynn.com.

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Location: Central Florida

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Be careful what you put on the internet

The growth of blogs along with social networking websites means more and more personal information is getting on the internet where anybody can see it. This means prospective clients or employers might see what you posted for the benefit of your friends and family.

A smart prospective client is going to search on both you personally as well as your company when deciding whether or not to buy from you. Employers are doing routine searches on current employees to see what they’re posting on line, and workers have been fired for revealing insider company information on blogs or posting pictures and stories of scandalous behavior. HR managers are also using the internet as a screening tool.

The outplacement firm of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. offers these tips for posting on social networking and blogging sites:

Lock your profiles! If your site is for friends’ eyes only then, if possible, allow access to your site only to those who have a password that you have provided. If you cannot limit access, then consider your profile open to anyone, including an employer or prospective employer. As a rule, do not post anything that you would not want your mother to see.

Remember that your profile is your résumé. If you insist on having your profile available to the world, use it to your advantage. Posting insightful comments on your workplace, industry, current events, or whatever is on your mind shows others that you can articulate ideas, especially if you avoid resorting to insults or derogatory language. Instead of posting pictures of your latest drinking escapade, show examples of interests and hobbies that make you unique, such as photos of you playing guitar, windsurfing, or community service. Anything that shows your expertise with a digital camera or web design is always a plus.

Blog Anonymously. If you are writing on controversial topics or using your blog to criticize an employer, then do so under a pseudonym. A prospective employer may not agree with your views and is not likely to hire a person who publicly disparages an employer.

Vent Wisely. It is okay to express discontent about an employer (anonymously), but to limit the chances of the criticism being traced back to you, do not include names of co-workers or the name of the company in any of your postings. Also refrain from using “inside” jokes, phrases, terms used commonly among circles in the company.


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