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 Clean Up Your Online Image

DO...

Use Smart Subject Lines in E-Mails:  When sending professional emails, be sure to use a subject line that reflects the message you are sending, for example, Resume for Civil Engineering Technology position.  No subject line or a generic subject line like “hello” can land your email in the Spam folder.

Use a Signature File:  A signature file contains your full name, title, company and contact information.  This a great way to ensure the recipient knows how to get in contact with you.

Think Before You Hit Send:  Once you hit send, email is difficult to stop.  Be sure you proofread your message.  Disable the automatic send feature if possible.  Also, don’t type in the recipient email address until you are ready to send your message.

Be Careful When Posting to Online Forums:  MySpace, Facebook, flickr are all part of the public domain, unless you take steps to protect the information.  Once the information is available to the public, you can’t take it back.  What does your Facebook profile say about you?

Keep Your Personal Information Fresh:  Search engines typically rank their results based on the number of sites that link to those pages.  The more links, the higher the search ranking.  So if you have information online that you want to bury, try creating new pages that highlight your skills and professionalism.  Link those pages to blogs, chat groups, etc.  The key is to keep new information professional and make sure the pages you want recruiters to see have more links to them than the pages you’d rather keep hidden.

DON’T...

Don't Be Too Familiar: An email to a friend is different than an email to a potential employer.  Be sure to be as formal as you would for a printed letter. Use Mr. and Ms. appropriately and don’t use any emoticons.

Don't Get Burned by Your On-Line Identity:  Just like police record checks, contacting references, and background checks, a potential employer can “check you out” on the web.  When you Google yourself, what comes up?  Be sure to type your name in quotation marks (i.e. “Robert Smith” or “Bob Smith”)

Don't Instant Message When You Should Call:  Just because you know someone’s IM user name, think before you send an instant message.  Is this communication something that requires an instant response or is this something better said in email or over the phone?

Don't Bad-Mouth Your Employer:  If you are unhappy in your position or you don’t like your boss, online forums and blogs are not the place for that information.  You don’t know who is going to read that information and employers don’t like to hire someone who is likely to publically criticize a company or manager.

Don't Use Foolish, Pornographic or Otherwise Immature Email Addresses:  Enough said…