I always advise job seekers to consider two things before posting anything online. Would you be happy with what you've written being splashed over the front page of a newspaper? Or would you be happy discussing your latest blog post with your mum over the breakfast table?
Creating a positive online presence through a personal blog shows potential employers that you are pro-active, can write intelligently, have an interest or passion, and can be used as a strong tool for self promotion and networking.
When posting online, always assume a potential employer could see it. A recent Pure survey revealed that 88 per cent of employers or candidates will Google a candidate or company before they meet. And a search like this is very likely to bring up your blog results.
To position yourself in the best possible way, it's really important to update your blog regularly to show commitment, to write in a professional but friendly style and to keep your content interesting, appealing and appropriate to an open audience. And there is definitely no excuse for spelling or grammar mistakes.
It may sound obvious, but I have seen examples where blog writers have seriously jeopardised their chances of getting a job by failing to follow these simple rules. It's estimated that over a quarter of HR professionals have rejected an applicant based on their online presence so it is important to consider how your blog would be perceived in the eyes of a potential employer.
On the plus side, a well constructed online presence, either through blogging or any other social media sites, means recruiters or other hiring authorities can find you more easily. It also shows that you are clued up on current technology and the social media world.
LinkedIn, seen as the professional person's Facebook, gives extra control to manage publicly available professional information, it aids networking with peers and fellow professionals and can help to build new business connections to help land that dream job.
But whatever online tools you choose, make sure you regularly check what has been published about you online so you're aware of what potential employers may find. Google yourself and search your name on websites like pipl.com, removing anything you wouldn't be happy for a potential employer to see.
And remember you are entitled to a private life, but just keep it that way. All social networking accounts have privacy settings to help restrict people you don't know accessing personal information or images, the sort of content you'd only want your friends to see. Make sure you understand and make use of them.
Always take care when updating your information including status updates, tweets, photos and even the time of posting. A casual Facebook update about being bored at work at 3pm, or a lengthy personal blog post written during the working day, will not present you as the most committed employee to a potential new boss.
Finally, don't get carried away with the banter of social networking! Moderate your comments and feedback. Be honest - if you wouldn't say it in person to a potential employer, then is it really all that wise to post it online?