Be careful where you leave your social media footprintFor some time now I’ve been using my social media network as my on line CV, suggesting to prospective clients and others I work with “to check me out on line and Google me” if they’d like to know more about what I do and a number of times this has been very effective for me and has led to new clients and speaking engagements on using social media to drive new business .

By using this method I’ve found it really gives them a good understanding of what I do, and of course, when it comes to working with them on a web campaign or social media strategy they have a clear understanding of what can be achieved. I’ve effectively replaced the old style paper resume with a new generation concept, and once they do a search on me they see all the web sites I own, articles I’ve written and those that have been syndicated and can see my area of expertise far better than I could explain or show on paper.

There is however a down side to all of this, and that’s why your on line presence or social network needs to managed very carefully and you need to be really aware of what information you put on line on your Facebook or Myspace page, as those photos, words or comments can really come back and bite you big time!!

Job seekers today are being urged to manage their on line footprint very carefully, because a recent report by Viacom in the UK, found that 1 in 5 employers had researched social networking sites and found personal information about prospective employees, and 59% said it had influenced their recruitment decision.

Amongst the reasons given for not employing people they had researched on the net, were and I quote, “His MySpace website showed a negative side to him including excessive alcohol abuse and disrespect for his job’ and ‘We found that the candidate was on the local police wanted list.’ The report also found that we as users of social media sites are leaving significant footprints of personal information on the web, as we use blogging sites, social networking sites etc.

The spread of people posting personal information on the web is not limited to younger generations though, with 31% of all internet users leaving personal information, which is searchable by anyone, on the web. However, the biggest group of information providers are in the age group 18-24, with just under half of those questioned for this survey, posting personal information on Facebook, MySpace and Youtube. The biggest concern to come out of this survey though, is that over 54% of the 18 to 24 year olds questioned during this research,responded that someone other than themselves, had posted photos, information and comments about them without their approval.

So, with the rise of search engines such as Google and Yahoo, be aware that employers are never more than a click away from getting information about you the job seeker, and of course, the same is true for companies, as job seekers are able to research information about prospective employers, so this is really a two way street.

The upshot of all of this is that you really need to think very carefully about the information you put on social network sites and you need to protect your name or brand. Your on line reputation is so vitally important today that you can’t afford to neglect it.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post, or even if you’ve experienced this problem yourself, so please leave me a comment.

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