Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What do High School Seniors and Job Seekers Have in Common?

The answer may be surprising. Or it may not. Social Networking is at an all time high and leading the pack are high school students are teenagers across the country. Popular sites like Myspace and Facebook allow anyone on their networks to post text, videos and photos to their pages, walls and on their friends pages. This has resulted in some less than spectacular backlash for these students when looking into colleges.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, 10% of college admissions reps are looking at social networking profiles when making an enrollment decision. Of those colleges making use of the online information, 38% said that what they saw "negatively affected" their views of the applicant.

Job seekers have recently been in the same boat. Local media have named the trend "digital dirt," however I think it goes beyond the bad.

Everyone is quick to point fingers and join the blame game when incriminating evidence is found online. The fact of the matter is that for something to make it online, it had to be put there by a person. If you are controlling what is put online, you have nothing to worry about.

The great thing is that there are many things that you can begin to do today to create a positive personal brand today to make it easier to get a job tomorrow.
  • Smart Social Networking - Use these networks to meet people at organizations that you cannot contact normally. Cultivate relationships with these people through asking questions, complimenting their work and engaging in their conversations.
  • Blogging - Become a thought leader for a niche that you specialize in. If you are a painter, load up photos and tell stories of some great houses, layout or fences that you have worked on. Upload how-to videos or tips to more effective painting.
  • Media in your resume - Robert Scoble recently noted that out of 200 applicants for a job with a tech company that only one had a link to their site included within their resume. If you need to get a point across, link to it!

Whether you are a student or a job seeker, companies and universities are looking you up. What are they going to find? The answer is what you put there.

-Greg Rollett

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