There are many ways to use the Internet as part of your job search. But as much as it may give you a head start, the internet has a flip side that affects your job search as well: social networking sites. While most professionals consider LinkedIn as part of their professional life, many of them assume that the things they have entered on other such websites are part of their personal life. Not so! Employers are just as likely to look at your Facebook posts as your resume. Once something is published on the Internet, it is public information available to anyone who is online and interested.

Probably the most valuable site for professionals, LinkedIn, can also be misused. Make sure your posts have the correct grammar and spelling and that your thoughts and responses are consistent. Potential employers can view your profile as a sample of your writing. Don’t forget to check! Make sure you get multiple referrals on your LinkedIn profile. These will be read and will definitely make a difference.

Twitter is one of the most misused sites. With only 140 characters available for each message (known as tweets), many people use it as a place to vent anger, joy, and random thoughts, which are often not fully considered from a professional point of view. Would you like a potential employer to read a tweet you sent saying that you were telling everyone that you can’t stand your boss or that you are fooling around at work? This is probably not a good idea.

Other social networking sites include MySpace, Plaxo, Squidoo, Ning, Eons, and Meetup. There are a total of 153 social media sites, according to Wikipedia, ranging from general interest to (families, genealogy), researchGate (for scientific researchers), and Vampirefreaks (goth and industrial subculture).

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