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Is your image helping or hurting your career?

Up for promotion?  Not likely.
Up for promotion? Not likely.
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Caution: Are those free online assessments really free?

Ok, so we made it through the holiday office parties, although we still have New Year’s Eve celebrations around the corner. You have no doubt been reminded that office holiday parties are not the time to let your hair down. We have all heard horror stories about workers who had too much to drink and made complete fools of them selves. While hitting on the boss’s wife, performing a strip tease act, or dancing on the table are obvious career derailers, there are some perhaps less obvious maneuvers that can prove damaging to your professional image as well. While it is true what you do on your time is your business, it is also true that “off-the-clock” activities can still damage your professional image.

Let’s face it. We live in an age of instant messaging and social media. With membership over 45 million representing 150 different industries, LinkedIn is widely accepted as the modern professional networking tool of choice. The average age of LinkedIn members is 41. Over 80% are college graduates and approximately 49% are business decision makers. Most users understand that their LinkedIn profile and communications should be polished and professional. What is often surprising to our career strategists, however, is that job seekers and working professionals give little or no consideration to the image they are promoting on their Facebook accounts. There are approximately 321.1 million Facebook users. Trust me, employers and prospective employers are looking you up! Your image is just a click away…for all of posterity, so give some thought to that before you upload compromising photographs or post crude comments.

The language you use, the photos you post, should not be considered private when you post them on the world-wide web. If your online image is not presenting you as the kind of candidate that employers will seek out to represent their organization in a positive way, it may come back to haunt you for years to come. So a word to the wise: if you would not want to share your photos or comments with your employer or prospective employer, don’t post them on Facebook. Remember discretion is the better part of valor. Sign up for our free e-newsletter here