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Life Online – Keep Your Career Fresh & Put Your Best Foot Forward

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As to-do lists lighten in favor of long weekends, summer tends to bring extra time for introspection.  Nowadays, living life online enables us to detach from reality and develop a secondary persona – the social media overachiever, envied blogger, viral marketing genius and so on. Following the need to succeed and best practices for getting hired, our secondary self is likely to troll the Internet presenting an air poise and polish, the consummate hire.

However, even in an era marred by cynicism, with website forums dedicated to bashing bloggers and trash talking celebrities, authenticity still manages to transcend technology. Who we are IRL remains critical for keep our careers fresh and putting our best food forward.

Where Truth Lies Online

A recent post on Digital Pivot explored social media fraud, offering “Social media allows us to hide behind the safety of a computer screen. Here we can pretend to be something we are not in our real life. From the comfort of our couch, we can select the pictures that show a vibrant social life. We can Google search an inspirational quote from an industry leader such as Steve Jobs, add a few Photoshop elements and within minutes have a social media update designed to impress even our harshest critic.”

Committing social media fraud isn’t always a conscious effort. In an attempt to present our best self, honors become major awards and general enthusiasm turns to zeal. Take it down a notch and toughen up. The haters will hate no matter what. Worry about displaying your personality and skills to those who matter most.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Both Brazen Careerist and Media Jobs Daily tout the importance of monitoring social media presence. More than that, it is important to promote consistency and provide an honest look at your life. Without being unprofessional, it is ok to share your disappointment on an off day. Everyone can relate.

Without becoming philosophical, being human allows us to be flawed. Don’t stress the occasional typo, errant punctuation mark or bad hair day. You can always post a retraction or delete that last tweet. The important thing to remember is to be reflective and remain in control.

Reach Out and Touch Base

Let’s not forget about the SOCIAL component of social media – especially as companies increase online recruiting efforts. As you monitor your presence, be sure to reach out and touch base with your existing connections in addition to new ones. Most people like to be reminded that there’s another voice on the line.

But remember – there’s no need to hound potential employers or post incessantly on LinkedIn. Rather, opt to learn about what’s going on in your industry, show off your expertise on Quora or in a relevant publication, or join the conversation by participating in a tweetchat or local networking event.

At the end of the day, when even the computers go to sleep, our two halves are part of the same whole – keep it that way.

Suggested Reading: Facebook Made Me Do It via The New York Times