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Internet image – self-presentation in the Internet

Information and development of the information and communication technologies are currently the main determinants of the economic development, and the knowledge acquired by us and the speed we use it decides our position on the labour market.

An important tool used to obtain information necessary to take action connected with work is the Internet.  Communication services of the Internet are used in order to search and acquire the knowledge needed to make important decisions.

According to the latest results of Social Diagnosis 2011[1], it is possible to divide Poland into digital Poland and digitally excluded Poland, and as a consequence, Poland excluded from the labour market. The report shows that people who freely surf the Internet, have a better position in the labour market than other people.  Three fourths of the Internet users and only 40% of the ones who didn't look for work on the Internet are amongst the employed aged 25-60 years.

Internet users are also more precautious and think forward.  Information they acquire in the Internet, gives them the opportunity to develop, and as a consequence, to make decision in relation to their professional path.  Every fifth Pole – the Internet user searching for a new, better job, acquired new qualifications over the previous year.  Only every fiftieth person, who does not use this medium, decided to improve their professional skills.

Recent years show that the Internet became the best catalyst of the professional activity, and thus, it is hard to look for job without it, since most employers recruit only via the Internet. As a conclusion, if we do not use the virtual space, we will be excluded from the labour market and our chances of getting a job will decrease.

Nowadays the effects of the information and communication revolution improve people’s daily living and functioning of the entire societies faster than ever in the history of civilization.  Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian philosopher and theoretician of the communication, wrote, that: ‘the new media are not bridges between man and nature; they are nature’[2].  The quoted statement of McLuhan can be referred to reality, that we live in, in order to understand that the information technologies became an integral part of our life.  They are natural for the age of the information society and we must live with them and make use of their potential. Therefore, informatization cannot be understood only as the country’s modernisation, but also as a process necessary and natural at the present stage of development of the civilization.

Today the fast, unlimited access to information, right choices and the dynamics of action are the deciding conditions of success in the professional career. The potential of the new media introduced in all fields of life is used more and more often and wider. The global character of the Internet is undoubtedly the advantage, if we consider the possibility to make use of it in the processes related to professional career, careers advisory and job-hunting.

The Internet is one of the greatest inventions of the end of the 20th century. It spread worldwide in almost every sphere of our life and in a very short time.  Using the Internet actively keeps us updated on the latest news. We are become more open to the latest solutions, which encourages us to changes, the professional ones as well.  According to the Social Diagnosis 2011, people using the Internet decided to establish their own companies twice more often. As a result, they have taken up a better-paid job and taken extra paid courses three times more often and been promoted four times more often.

Employers themselves also seek for candidates to work in web resources, therefore, it is worth checking, what information about us they can find there. The research carried out by the Career Builder agency shows that 46% of employers make use of the information about candidates placed on social networking websites, blogs and thematic forums.  Then one should use this valuable information and care for one’s image in the Internet.  It depends on us, what it will look like, whether it will arouse potential employer’s interest in our person, whether they will invite us to an interview.

Amongst the most frequently visited social networking websites by employers are: GoldenLine, Profeo, LinkedIn. Official photo in the CV placed on a professional portal is not everything.  For sure the employer will have a look on Facebook or Nasza Klasa (Classmates), therefore, we should pay attention to what photographs or comments we publish in the profile.  It is also important how we express our in the Internet.  Using vulgarisms on forums or micro-blogs, or offensive comments or unreliable entries on the blog will discourage the recruiter from us. 

We distinguish the following types of the image:

  • common, that is how an individual is perceived by the environment;
  • target, that is how an individual would like to be perceived by the environment;
  • mirror, that is how an individual sees themselves;
  • optimum, that is a result of the two first; the image an individual is able to create through their actions.

Principles of effective creating the Internet image:

  1. Analysis – when planning to create the website, the approach ‘I will go to the agency and ask them to design some website for me’ is incorrect – it is necessary to analyse, what will the role and target group of the website be, and how this target group makes use of the Internet.
  2. Time – actions taken to improve our image in the Internet do not require high costs, but are extremely time-consuming.  Therefore, we need a lot of time, or our actions will be ineffective.
  3. Characteristic feature – creating image is based on showing off the characteristic feature, i.e. the feature we have, whereas the competition does not. Without this image it loses its power, and hence is less effective.
  4. Cohesion – signals concerning our Internet image sent to the receiver must be coherent.  Multiplicity of different signals does not create image, but causes chaos. One should remember about the cohesion, including all aspects from colour to behaviour.
  5. Repetitiveness – we should repeat the signals concerning our Internet image, so that the receiver could remember them better.
  6. Right to use the Internet – network has its own particular rules, among which the most important one is the rule of the two-way communication. An individual creating its image in the Internet can find the target group and establish contact with it more easily and receive a reply to sent signals at once[3].

It is a truism, that if your profile is not on the Internet, you do not exist at all.  Activity on the forums, professional blog or interesting multimedia resources can make us more recognizable. Except for the information concerning our professional skills, it is also worth adding, what we are interested in, what talents we have. Employers are attracted by a candidate’s skills (39%), creativity (3%), communication abilities (33%), but also recommendations (34%) when recruiting employees.

Therefore, a well prepared profile on the social networking websites lets a recruiter create a more detailed description of the candidate – their competence, social networking potential, way of thinking, and thus, better prepare for the interview. Since recently a considerable number of the recruitment processes is held in confidence (hidden recruitment). Thus it is worth caring for one’s own Internet image, because it may turn out that the employer invites to an interview only those people who are able to create their professional Internet image.

Most common mistakes of the candidates are:

  1. Incomplete profile – in accordance with the principle that lack of information is also some information.
  2. Out-of-date information on the course of the career – current employment, scope of duties/experience and results at work.
  3. No professional profile – short description, professional experience summary.
  4. No network of contacts.
  5. Creating a false image – contrary to the truth[4].

Blogs, ‘personal websites of the candidates’, discussion groups and forums as well as events, which a potential candidate attends, are as important as the above mentioned social networking websites. All this information is a sort of replenishment of the information included in the CV, letter of application or even this provided by the candidate during an interview.

Social networking websites are a repository of knowledge, which employers make use of, therefore, we should be vigilant and careful, what type of information we publish.  To sup up, it is worth giving some thought to one’s Internet image, what it looks like presently.  If after reading this article doubts turned up as for how our profile in the virtual space looks like, it is worth changing/updating it as soon as possible in order to increase our chances on the labour market.

 

Care for your image on the Internet!

Enhance your chance getting a good job!

 

Iwona Kuc

 

Bibliography:

G. Bialopiotrowicz, Kreowanie wizerunku w biznesie i polityce, Poltext,

Warszawa 2009.

M. Łebkowski, E-wizerunek. Internet jako narzędzie kreowania image’u
w biznesie
, Helion, Gliwice 2009.

Re: internet – społeczne aspekty medium. Polskie konteksty i interpretacje, Praca zbiorowa, WAiP, Warszawa 2006.

Społeczeństwo informacyjne. Istota, rozwój, wyzwania, Wydawnictwa Akademickie i Profesjonalne, Warszawa 2006.

Netography:

http://www.diagnoza.com/

http://www.pracuj.pl

http://pl.wikiquote.org/wiki

 


[1] http://www.diagnoza.com/, [28.07.2011].

[3] M. Łebkowski, E-wizerunek. Internet jako narzędzie kreowania image’u w biznesie, Helion, Gliwice 2009, p. 116–117.

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