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Instant impressions: Make a good one online

Jan. 4, 2013 - 01:14PM   |   Last Updated: Jan. 4, 2013 - 01:14PM  |  
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It's often said that people make a judgment about you within seconds of meeting you, and new research shows that the same may be true when they're looking at your photo on Facebook.

When a person's Facebook photo accompanies positive comments or social cues, those things strongly affect the person's level of perceived attractiveness, according to a University of Missouri study.

"If you present yourself one way, that information is useful," says Kevin Wise, an associate professor at the university. "But it's not as credible as what other parties say about you." Some ways to enhance your image with prospective employers:

Get recommendations

LinkedIn offers a feature to let others recommend you. While you don't want to have dozens of recommendations that might ring false with employers, it's a good idea to have positive comments to go along with a flattering LinkedIn profile photo.

Watch the sarcasm

You might consider it harmless fun when friends say snarky things about you online, but those comments could give an employer pause.

Get positive customer reviews

Just as consumers often pay close attention to customer reviews about products or companies, it can be a good idea for employers to read positive reviews about you. If you write a blog, for example, let them see supportive comments.

Clean house

Remember the last holiday party where you had tinsel on your head and a beer in your hand? Employers might not find that so fitting, so take care to remove such photos and ask friends to do the same if you appear on their Facebook pages. Even if you use privacy settings, your connections might not follow suit.

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