In our electronically connected society, having an online presence is not only an easy thing to create, but also one that can be highly enjoyable and help us maintain our social connections.
However, caution should be taken when 'putting oneself out there' on the Internet. In a human resource context, prospective employers preparing to make an employment offer can also review online social media as part of the due diligence process on a potential new employee.
Think it doesn't happen that often? Prepare to be startled: A recent article in Computerworld Magazine indicates that now one out of five employers are using social media in the hiring process (http://tinyurl.com/4tkw66). There's even some software out there that aggregates information about people from all of the social media websites and "Googles" you and any other online web pages into one handy dandy little report which lands in the hiring manager's email inbox.
So the cute yet ridiculous photos of you partying it up last weekend or doing anything else that outside of your social network might be perceived as obscene, unprofessional, illegal or offensive should best be left on your computer and not online.
The rule of thumb to ask yourself when posting comments, photos or links is this: Would I be embarrassed about this if a potential employer saw it? If the answer is yes, remove it immediately.
Maintaining a professional online presence can remove any objections a prospective employer can have about hiring you. And they are checking your Facebook and MySpace page, so post with care!