The truth is sometimes uncomfortable to hear, but here it goes.
I know, this sounds as a revelation, but please hear me out.
As they are professional, it also means that they are not a place for posting family pictures (and yourself in budgy smugglers), sharing weekend plans and informing the world about your last holiday with your drinking buddies.
They are also not a place where any odd picture of you will do for a profile photo such as wedding photos, night-out photos, random webcam photos with the family or even cartoon characters (unless, of course, you want to not be taken seriously).
I know that, at this point, many of you are scratching your heads and thinking that this is obvious. However, it clearly is not.
Your professional network profile needs to be a form of CV mixed in with a showcase of relevant achievements (winning the 5th grade SEGA Sonic The Hedgehog championship is not relevant).
The content you post will directly reflect on you as a person and professional. Any employer functioning in the 21st century will check you out online before talking to you.
So put away your photos with that bear hat or cut-outs with someone's arm around your neck during a night you clearly had a few. Think about what you post and how it reflects on you. If it is not relevant to your professional standing, then post that cute cat video on Facebook.
Check your spelling, make sure your links are relevant and make sure that you are honestly happy with your professional representation online.
Google yourself and see what others will see.
You can and should control your professional network profile and the quality of the content revealed in it. This is a direct reflection of you.
Sadly, not everyone does this, and their long-term prospects suffer as a result.
*All examples in this article are sadly real.
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