Online profiles may paint different pictures

By Jeff Ballif, Intern (@jeffballif)

My name is Jeff, I’m the newest intern in Fusion’s New York office. I am a senior majoring in communication and public relations. In the last year, I have studied intensively for my major, taken part in public relations campaigns for some local businesses, worked as a translator/corporate liaison for a U.S.-based company in the Philippines and now made the move to New York City for my latest experience. It’s been a very interesting and beneficial year for me. I’ve studied PR in college, but I’m looking forward to working at an actual PR firm to gain experience and learn more about the field.

Over the last year or so, I have become more involved in social media than ever before. In addition to my Facebook profile, I have added to my online presence profiles on Twitter, LinkedIn and Skype; I’ve also started a blog, a personal website, and just today I opened an account with Foursquare.

From visiting with executives at some of the top tier advertising and public relations firms in New York, I discovered that when many of these firms receive job applications, the first place they look after the resume itself is online profiles, chiefly Facebook. Aside from Facebook, potential employers may also peruse other online profiles like LinkedIn and Twitter. This is a good way for companies to get a real look at the people who are applying for jobs; however, it is also a good way for applicants to find themselves losing credibility.

If you, in your interview, present yourself as the golden applicant that the company has been waiting for, yet your Facebook page has posts or pictures that say otherwise, your potential employer may second-guess what you said about yourself in your interview. If you want to be taken seriously, it’s best to ensure that your online presence is professional.

It is not enough to watch what we put on Facebook, we also need to monitor what our friends post about us. Make sure to either keep a close eye on the content of your social media profiles, or even better just open separate ‘professional’ accounts. Not to say that you’re being dishonest about yourself; rather you are separating your personal life from your professional life.

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