Social Networking Sites May Be Damaging To Job Seekers

 Job seekers should exercise caution when it comes to posting information on social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, a career counselor advises.  Prospective employers could be making decisions on what they see long after a job interview has ended.

"People are getting caught up with using these sites as an outlet," says Patricia Vaccarino, a Seattle, Washington public relations expert.  "They'll post things online they would never say in a face to face conversation."

Founder of PRforPeople, a new firm that aims to help individuals better market themselves, Vaccarino says the poor economy is driving potential employers to become more selective about who they hire and promote.  That, she says, has led them to new ways of into your background -- including checking what you've put on the internet. 

Beware of What You Say Online

Before you post anything online, Vaccarino says ask yourself this question.  "Is my communications consistent with my professional identity, or the image I want the world to see?"

Social networking sites can be especially revealing.  And because they are searchable, prospective employers can use them to better understand those being considered for a job.

"I know of one candidate for a high-level position who was well qualified but didn't get the job because some of what he posted online was deemed to be mean-spirited and that showed a lack of leadership," says Vaccarino.

"If you don't get that job, you may never know the real reasons why," says Vaccarino, reminding all that online postings leave a digital footprint that may never be erased, making all information available for years to come.

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