Monday, August 29, 2011

Putting your best foot forward

When you present yourself to others, in person, on the phone, live audio, or online, first impressions do count. The importance of your reputation becomes crystal clear when you apply to schools, colleges, and universities and even more crucial when you apply for a job.
Put yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment. You have a job opening for a clerk typist 3 (a common designation in Pennsylvania) and 2700 applicants. Are you going to wade through resumes for people who call themselves the name of a film star from the other side of the tracks on social media sites? Are you going to hire someone who has pictures on their profile that are suggestive? Are you going to offer a second interview to someone who regularly uses language that would make a grandmother blush?
So how do you put your best foot forward online?
1. Username – Pick your pseudonym carefully. If you are under 18 (or 21 depending on your country of residence and your comfort level), do choose and use the same pseudonym everywhere online. Ask your grandmother what she thinks of your potential username BEFORE you use it. Consider your email address too. Many sites display your email address as well as your username.
2. Profile Picture – If you are under 18, DO NOT post your photo online. Use an avatar maker, and there are plenty, or a logo (like the Nike swoosh). Make your profile pic be your personal brand without jeopardizing your online safety.
3. Language – Remember that your grandparents have plenty of time on their hands, now that they are retired and they are probably reading everything you write. Do not use language that you would not use with them.
4. Information – Be careful WHAT you post online. Do not provide your address, your birthday, or phone number, or post that you will be at Big Macs at the Main Street Mall at 8:00pm.
5. Content - What you write can be as impressive as how you write. Try to discuss your area of interest. Try not disparaging other people by name and not discussing the latest beer bash at the local college.
As the new school year begins here in the USA, many of you will be creating user accounts on different platforms. Take a moment to think about your digital reputation and how that will affect the rest of your life. If you think anything you post online is private and can be deleted, I refer you to
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