by Julie Beach | Professional networking shortens the time it takes to get a great new job. Face-to-face networking is very important and LGBT organizations like Out & Equal offer abundant opportunities to do so among like-minded individuals. Another way to professionally network is online, through the many social networking spaces such as Out & Equal’s LGBTCareerLink on LinkedIn.
One major benefit of online networking provides is the ability to reach out quickly to a very wide circle of contacts, far wider than what you can accomplish reasonably through face-to-face networking. The popularity explosion of the social networking sites has led droves of people to sign up. However, the majority of this crowd does not seem to understand the benefits and consequences of creating online profiles.
The number one question I get asked by job candidates is, “Will prospective employers Google me? The resounding answer is since search engines are a free screening tool, most employers will use it at some point in their evaluation process either officially or unofficially. Types of information an employer might see about you include photos you placed yourself or ones posted by other people who may or may not have your consent; your profile content associated with a presentation you’ve given along with information about the organization for whom you presented; content you have written for any online publication; comments you’ve posted in an online forum; and much more. While there are various methods of getting items removed from a search engine, there is only a 50% chance that you’ll be successful and few current laws govern the Internet and online privacy.
While the Internet can hurt you, it can also greatly help you market yourself as a professional. When you are careful to make sure only professional and well thought out content appears about you on the Internet, your experience and skills are what prospective employers or business contacts will see about you.
For further information about how to create a professional online presence for yourself, please view the slides from the presentation “The Online Brand Called You”.