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Career Coach: The Internet is No Place to Fool Around

On this April Fool's Day edition of her column, Pamela Kleibrink Thompson warns us against posting foolish things to the internet.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

This April we are celebrating April Fool's Day by warning you that the internet is no place to fool around. Last month, you learned about the importance of networking. This month you'll discover why you have to be careful how you use the internet to network. Email, listservs and social networking sites can help you network for your career, but you need to recognize their value and how to use them so that your career will be enhanced rather than negatively impacted.

What you post on social networking sites and blogs is available to everyone, including prospective employers, co-workers and bosses. It is one of the least censored forms of communication, so think before you post.

The internet is also used by employers for background checks and references, so be careful about what you post. Employers now regularly check social networking sites to find out about the real you. If you confess online to getting drunk or high every weekend or to any attributes or characteristics your employer might find objectionable, detrimental or offensive, you might ace yourself out of a job. Be aware that your public profile is viewed not just by friends but by those who might be interested in employing you. So maintain a professional appearance on the internet.

One of my clients wanted to view her employee's portfolio online. She was dismayed when she discovered he was posting complaints about the company and its projects on industry websites and doing it on company time. That employee is now free to post whatever and whenever he wants 24/7, because he no longer has a job.

Be careful about emailing photos or comments as email can be forwarded to anyone and can remain public for a long time. Don't give an employer a reason not to interview you by posting photos of your latest orgy.

Companies use the internet as a marketing tool and to promote themselves. Follow their example and understand the internet is a powerful distribution method to exchange information and ideas, to display artwork or show off your talents in your demo reel. Use the internet to your best advantage. You never know who will be looking at your posts, blogs and social networking sites, so maintain a professional image at all times. You never know when you'll be looking for work.

Pamela Klebrink Thompson once believed that she could get jobs on her own but now her entire career seems to be based on networking. Once shy, she works on expanding her network almost every day. One of her favorite social networking sites is Linkedin. She is a career coach and recruiter and available for speaking engagements. She will be speaking at the Kalamazoo Animation Festival International (www.gokafi.com) in May and hopes to meet some new people there. She is a founding member and Board Member of Women in Animation and a member of Idaho Media Professionals. You can contact her at PamRecruit@q.com.

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