Sunday, March 8, 2009

get your feet wet

Howdy online friends and neighbors. It’s about that time. We’re heading into exciting stuff. [side note, I love the word STUFF. it covers so much STUFF. nothing is left out when you use the word STUFF] What stuff are we headed into, you might ask? Our personal online profiles, dear friends - the digital versions of ourselves. The electronic blips and beeps that come to represent each of us as a unique flavor on the web. Who shall we be today? I suggest we jump aboard the Good Ship Employment and sail into the waters of Internet profiles.

Let’s start from the idea that we are able to create an online likeness of ourselves that exists somewhere in the computer cosmos. Although we might be sitting on a beach looking at the Gulf of Mexico, our online personalities or profiles are hard at work representing who we are and what we want in that parallel computer universe.

There are a handful of different ways you can be manifested on the web. Maybe you’re a text based like the web resume I showed you before. Could be that you are an image and some personal info or you could be a straight up avatar. [totally not plugging my brothers current CG work on JC’s Avator or anything, but if you’re really interested…] You can be anyone online! For now let’s keep the conversation within a professional context. Don’t Tron out on me.

I recently talked to one of the HR folks over at Simon & Schuster to see if we could get a little insight about what HR departments are thinking. Lynnette Lebron shared with me her thoughts about professionals and job searchers having a “live self”. Lynnette warns that people need to be cautious about how they represent themselves online. She suggests not to over inform, but don’t remain isolated either. Lynnette had some great additional pointers in the online job search area but we’ll circle back to that later in the week.

The Washington Post has a good article about being aware in this area: Maintaining an Online Profile -- and Your Professionalism. OMG note – I have a classmate who works at an very large media company and she has personally seen her boss chuck out potential job candidates who have unacceptable (all party/no professional) online profiles. Take the time to establish yourself. Use friends, family, and trusted professionals to check out what you have created and if it works to represent who you are.

Ok crew, we gotta start somewhere,  so bust out those resumes and let’s get to work. Your homework for the week: establish your ‘online profile’ on three different career sites. I suggest Monster, CareerBuilder, and Yahoo! HotJobs. I must warn you that this will take an entire afternoon to establish and populate completely. Grab a pop [yes, I’m from the mid-west originally], use the bathroom, and find a comfortable chair – you’ve got work to do!

Already hit those sites and looking for an alternative posting location? Try your local craigslist. There is a Resume section or consider the Services section to post your online skills and abilities. This is all free, folks. Here’s a screen shot of when I posted - last listing at the bottom:

Next stop, social networking sites and more fun STUFF!

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