There are many ways to use the Internet as part of a job search. But despite the great advantage it can give you, the Internet has a flip side that also affects your job search: social networking sites. While most professionals consider LinkedIn to be part of their professional life, many of them assume that the things they have entered on other similar websites are part of their personal life. Not so! Employers are just as likely to see your Facebook posts as your resume. Once something is posted on the Internet, it is public information available to anyone online and interested.

Probably the most valuable site for professionals, LinkedIn, can also be misused. Make sure your posts have 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 references on your LinkedIn profile. These will be read and will definitely make a difference.

Twitter is one of the most easily abused 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, often not fully thought through from a professional point of view. Would you want a potential employer to read a tweet you sent telling everyone that you can’t stand your boss or that you’re wasting time at work? It’s probably not a good idea.

Other social networking sites include MySpace, Plaxo, Squidoo, Ning, Eons, and Meetup. There are a total of 153 social networking 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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