Should I Connect?

Should I Connect?

Do you know who it is that you’re connecting with, or “friending” on social networks? In a research study, Sophos, a UK-based security firm created a Facebook profile with a congenial-looking toy frog and sent out successful friend requests to over 100 people. In both fields, it’s important to separate personal vs. professional connections. You don’t want that personal connection to reflect badly on you.

Security Guru’s POV

friendHow do you know that the person wanting to friend you or sending you that email is really who he or she claims to be? I believe it’s important to build a network of business and personal connections. However, don’t assume that profile picture is really a picture of the person who has the profile. Check out this blogger’s advice on detecting fake profiles on Facebook.

Career Sherpa’s POV

personal vs. professionalFear of the unknown is normal and you need to be cautious as the security guru advises, however, let down your hair a bit, especially if you are using Twitter or Google+, both of which are more open forums.

You should have your own set of criteria for accepting invitations on LinkedIn and who you decide to follow on Twitter and accept as a Friend on Facebook. You may have a different set of connections across the different platforms, however, I hope you consider taking your online connections to the next level and build a professional relationship for greater camaraderie.

And just as you have pre-determined criteria for accepting people into your network, so do others. Be respectful of their decisions and how they use the platform. There are no hard and fast rules on how often or with whom you should share (though Spam is never appreciated).

Move beyond lurking (just watching on the sidelines) and begin interacting by sharing information others may deem helpful and reaching out to others to lend a virtual hand. Just as in real life, you want to continue to expand and nurture your virtual network so you are learning new things and meeting new people.

You may have noticed that your personal and professional lives are more closely intertwined. Keep an open mind to this co-mingling but also know what that can mean for your privacy.

Who’s Watching

Who’s Watching

Both presenters believe that it’s critical to remember you’re not alone on the Internet. You don’t know who’s watching. It could be your next boss or it could be cyber criminals. You need to ensure you don’t post information that could damage your reputation nor do you want to provide information that can be used for identity theft.

Career Sherpa’s POV

who is watchingPerhaps one of the earliest, yet most telling studies conducted about online trust came from Microsoft in 2010. The study stated that 78% of human resources and recruiting professionals report that their companies have formal policies in place that require hiring personnel to research applicants online. Though other entities have run similar studies, the data should be alarming if you aren’t already aware. Today, these numbers are even higher and have and eve greater and far reaching impact. Your online reputation can impact your mortgage, credit, school application and work. Learn more here. Microsoft has shown a commitment to help individuals protect themselves and their reputations online. You can learn more here: Microsoft’s Data Privacy Day

Things you should watch out for include:

  • Photos shared of you online through photosharing services like Instagram.
  • Photos or posts your name is tagged in on Facebook.
  • Watch the comments you make on online forums and on blogs.

Be aware of everything you are sharing online and who could potentially find it if they wanted to.

Security Guru’s POV

cyberThe Career Sherpa talks about how potential and current employers may be watching what you do online. Have you thought about who else could be watching? You could be “cyberstalked” by identity thieves, that ex-boyfriend, or other creepers. Think about the information you provide online. Use privacy settings to ensure your posts and photos are shared only with those who you want to see them.

 

Trust

Trust

Knowing who to trust or whether a website is trustworthy is one key in avoiding online scams. In reputation management and job searching, authenticity is the key in how you present yourself and your skills. You must be trustworthy.

Career Sherpa’s POV

genuineThere are a lot of factors that impact someone’s ability to trust you. Trust is essentially based on what you say, what other’s say about you and your actions. You can influence all three, but two are directly within your control.

Your online presence should be an accurate reflection of who you are and what you have done and can do. Falsely representing yourself will only come back to bite you.  Be sure all your social profiles are truthful.

Your actions online and off are equally important and influence your reputation. Be aware of what you say on online discussions and forums. Whenever possible, look for opportunities to help others by sharing relevant resources or offering your advice. This give-to-get philosophy works well to build a positive reputation and attract attention.

Your actions should never be overly self-promotional, spammy, needy, or viewed by others to be insincere.

Security Guru’s POV

fishingThe internet is rife with scammers. Especially common are work-at-home schemes, Nigerian 419 schemes, and phishing. The FBI has provided information on common scams.

Did you know that every time that there’s a natural disaster, that scammers set up fake charity sites in the hope of leveraging people’s desire to help for their own financial gain?

Putting Up Walls

Putting Up Walls

Firewalls provide protection against worms and hackers on networks. For career success, you must avoid cubism–putting up walls that keep you from networking successfully with co-workers and potential resources. (Yes, we know that’s not the correct definition for cubism, but it works well in the presentation.)

Security Guru’s POV

firewallsDid you know that your computer can be compromised by malware even without you clicking on an infected file or visiting the wrong website? That’s right. You can be successfully attacked without even realizing it. A firewall provides protection to your computer (and by extension, your information) be controlling access to your computer or network. Ensure that your computer is running a firewall.

 

Career Sherpa’s POV

cubismCubism, as we call it in our presentation, occurs when you are so focused on your job within your current company (trapped in your work cube) that you become isolated and detached from what is going on in the big world outside.

Build alliances with people in different departments or divisions within your company. Make an effort to meet your colleagues at all levels so they are aware of who you are and you know more about what is important to them and their success.

Joining professional associations can help keep you up to date. Reading industry newsletters or publications is one way to efficiently maximize the time you invest in learning.

Volunteer outside with an organization or community group. Giving back to something that is important to you helps create a greater awareness of who you are.

In short, don’t lock yourself away in your current company. Always be looking for new people and groups to interact with to develop mutual respect and awareness.

Staying Current

Staying Current

Staying current is important in both fields. To avoid successful malware attacks, you must keep your software current through the use of auto-updates. In a more positive light, it’s important to employ skill-updates to ensure that your skills are current for the marketplace.

Career Sherpa’ POV

staying currentTake ownership of your career path and professional development today! In the volatile world of work, nothing is guaranteed.

Keep a pulse on current trends, inside and outside of your industry. Know what key skills are in demand. Know what technology is up-and-coming and don’t wait for your employer to introduce any of these.  Take initiative to teach yourself.

Read industry newsletter, participate actively on LinkedIn groups and online forums.

MOOCs (massive open online courses) are making it possible for anyone to gain access to education.

Security Guru’s POV

staying up to dateIn information security, staying current is keeping your computer and software up to date. Make sure auto-updating is turned on, because organized crime funds malware development. They look for flaws or vulnerabilities announced by companies because people don’t update their software, sometimes for years. Auto-updating is important to your survival on the internet.

 

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Words

Words

In information security, complex, but easy-to-remember passwords are critical in practicing safe social networking and in securing data in general. In reputation management, keywords are useful for searching career information online and making your information accessible to search engines used by recruiters.

Security Guru’s POV

passwordPasswords are a pain. Long passwords are stronger, but they may be harder to remember.

Create a passphrase. Use a line from a song or book, insert a number and a special character, and you’ll have a password that’s easy to remember, but difficult to crack.

For more on passwords, see http://benwoelk.com/simplifying-password-complexity/

Career Sherpa’s POV

job posting in wordleYou need to speak the right language to be understood. Similarly, you need to use the right keywords to be found online.

Your job is to research and understand what the best keywords are within your industry (these words can and often do vary by industry and even company). And once you have a collection of appropriate keywords, pepper them strategically into your online profiles, resumes, and other content you share online and off.

For active job seekers, it is important to note that ATS (applicant tracking systems) which collect your application are used by hiring entities to search and filter candidates. It is imperative that you use the right keywords for each job opportunity you submit in order to turn up in the search results.

 

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