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08/23/08
Guard Your Professional Image
Filed under: General, Networking, Career
Posted by: John Hadley @ 8:24 pm

Someone posted to a listserv I’m in, complaining about the fact that items posted there were getting picked up and re-posted elsewhere.  This prompted a good discussion.  I weighed in as follows:

I’d suggest you think of everything you post to this or any other forum, and your profile and postings on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. as an open book - don’t post anything that you aren’t comfortable having sent to the world. Make sure everything you do contributes to the same professional image you are trying to foster, that you want prospective employers to see.

No matter what safeguards you think are being taken, once you post something there is a potential for it to be found in an internet search, or for someone else to forward it or cut & paste it into something else.  Most of the time this is innocent - someone using what you wrote as an example, or thinking they are being helpful by forwarding it somewhere else. Just assume that will happen, and act accordingly.

Even emails should foster the image you are attempting to achieve. At the very basic level, friends & associates to whom you send emails are part of your network who can connect you to opportunities, and it is important that they have the same professional image you want to promote to those potential employers. And you never know who might innocently forward something you write them (“Hey, Joe, thought you might like to catch up on what Joanne’s been doing”) or to be helpful (”Jim, if you’re ever looking for a top quality recruiter, check out my friend Joanne.”).  And sometimes things get forwarded to the wrong address…

For more on guarding your professional image, check out this article:

http://www.jhacareers.com/GuardYourProfessionalImage.htm

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