You're an open book. Make sure it's one worth reading!

Everyone in the world, it seems, is just a little bit famous. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, even the emails we write expose parts of ourselves that a generation ago would have been private. This is wonderful and fun in so many ways.

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  • Everyone in the world, it seems, is just a little bit famous. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, even the emails we write expose parts of ourselves that a generation ago would have been private. This is wonderful and fun in so many ways. How would we live if we didn’t know what our friends were eating for lunch? When it comes time to find a job, however, you’ll want your on-line persona to be as employable as you are! (Bonus question: How long until your children will be old enough to view your page?)

  • It may be a little creepy thinking of prospective employers scouring Facebook for clues about you, but everything you tag as public will be available to them. Anything available to your friends may be available to anyone who could become a future employer. Do you have colleagues from work as Facebook friends? Could one leave for a job where she could be in a position to hire you? Your LinkedIn profile, if you have one (and you should have one) is an employer’s first social networking stop, but it won’t be their last. They’ll search for you on every major platform.

  • The following are tips to make sure that your public profile is ready for human resources:

  • Update your LinkedIn profile

  • Don’t let it get stale. Make sure it is as professional and polished as a resume.

  • Clean up your Facebook profile

  • Some of the things you thought were clever may not seem so amusing to human resources. Review your profile and your posts to be certain there is nothing that you wouldn’t say in the office.

  • Limit your political rants

  • For most people, Facebook is the only public platform available for ranting about politics. Many fall into the habit. Not only does a political rant offend about half of your friends, it likely offends about half of the employers. If you must advocate for a candidate, be positive 100 percent of the time — never tear down other people that someone else admires. Better rule: Never tear down other people.

  • Eliminate bigotry from your pages

  • Employers are required to prevent discrimination in the workplace. If a candidate employer gets the impression from a joke you liked or a photo you shared on Facebook that you are a bigot, your chance of getting a job goes out the window.

  • Eliminate sexual and “adult” language

  • Sexual images and adult language — language many people still call offensive — may contribute to a hostile work environment. In other words, such talk and imagery could be considered sexual harassment in the workplace. Dump it before an employer dumps your resume in the trash.

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  • Don’t trash your employer

  • Your next employer won’t want to get trashed on the Internet so don’t trash the employer you’ve got. The fastest way to get your resume trashed is to trash the very people who pay you so you can afford to be on Facebook.

  • Write a blog

  • Write a blog about your expertise. Use the blog to demonstrate your knowledge. A blog gives you a formal place to show off. Post links to your blog posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking sites where you have profiles. Focus future employers on your capabilities to distract them from the simply silly photos of you with your kids at the beach.

  • Clean up the email

  • Get out of the habit of forwarding silly, political, sappy and other emails to everyone in your address book. This old habit is largely dying out anyway (I only get forwards from my friends over 60), but don’t get caught forwarding something offensive or false. Trust me; you won’t have bad luck even if you don’t forward this message to 10 friends, right now.

  • By following these tips, you prepare yourself for the almost inevitable next job search. Form strong social networking habits today so that there will be less to clean up if you are ever looking for a job again. Remember, too, that many of the best jobs come up when you’re not looking. Keeping yourself clean has a whole new meaning for our generation.

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Devin Thorpe, husband, father, author of Your Mark On The World and a popular guest speaker, is a Forbes Contributor. Building on a twenty-five year career in finance and entrepreneurship that included $500 million in completed transactions, he now champions social good full time, seeking to help others succeed in their efforts to make the world a better place.


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